Sen. Chuck Grassley Asks DOJ To Investigate Michael Avenatti And Julie Swetnick

Composite photo of Sen. Chuck Grassley and Michael Avenatti
Phillip Faraone / Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The controversy surrounding Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment took a new turn on Thursday when Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct made by Julie Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti.

Julie Swetnick was one of the women who came forward and accused Kavanaugh of indecent behavior during the nomination hearings before his appointment. As The Guardian reported, she submitted a sworn affidavit in which she alleged that when he was a high school student, Kavanaugh attended parties where girls were drugged and gang-raped. She specifically claimed that she saw Kavanaugh “drink excessively at these parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior towards girls, including pressing girls against him without their consent, ‘grinding’ against girls and attempting to remove or shift girls’ clothing to expose private body parts.”

USA Today reports that, in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Grassley requested an FBI investigation into Swetnick and Avenatti for obstruction of Congressional proceedings, conspiracy, and the submission of false statements.

Avenatti called Grassley’s DOJ request “Christmas in October” on Twitter. In a tweet posted on Thursday, the attorney best known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels insinuated that the senator could end up regretting his DOJ request.

“Maybe if Grassley was actually a lawyer that knew something about the law, he would realize what he has done,” Avenatti wrote. “He just opened up Pandora’s box as it relates to Justice Kavanaugh’s conduct.”

Avenatti used Twitter to release the full text of Swetnick’s sworn declaration about a month ago.

“We welcome the investigation as now we can finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct,” he continued. “Let the truth be known.”

According to USA Today, Senator Grassley cited Swetnick’s “subsequent contradictions” after the affidavit was released as justifications for an investigation into the veracity of her statements against Kavanaugh. He referenced an NBC interview that she gave on October 1 as an example.

As CNBC reported, during that interview, she walked back some of the statement that she made during her affidavit. At one point, she was asked if she saw Kavanaugh add drugs to girls’ drinks at parties and she said that she saw him handing out the drinks and hanging out by the punch bowls.

“I don’t know what he did. But I saw him by them, yes,” she said.

Kavanaugh denied all accusations of sexual misconduct against him and called Swetnicks’ allegations a “circus” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in late September.