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Michael Avenatti, Julie Swetnick criminal referral sent in Kavanaugh saga

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Michael Avenatti speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon)
Rich
Polk/Getty Images for Politicon


  • The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee referred
    anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client Julie
    Swetnick to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation
    on Thursday.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent the referral for
    potential conspiracy to provide materially false
    statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee
    investigation.”

  • Avenatti responded by welcoming any
    investigation.


WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
referred lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick,
who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of being
present during sexual assaults and “gang rape” in the 1980s, for
a criminal investigation by the Justice Department on Thursday.

In a statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the
committee, sent the referral for a criminal investigation
“relating
to
 a
potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to
Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation,
three separate crimes, in the course of considering Justice Brett
M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United
States.”

“When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information
relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously,” Grassley
said in a statement. “It takes courage to come forward,
especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal
trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage. But in the
heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the
committee.”

“That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees and others
providing information who are seeking the truth. It stifles our
ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry,” he added. “It
also wastes time and resources for destructive
reasons. Thankfully, the law prohibits such false statements
to Congress and obstruction of congressional committee
investigations. For the law to work, we can’t just brush aside
potential violations. I don’t take lightly making a referral of
this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of
it in the future.”

Grassley sent a
letter
to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director
Christopher Wray detailing Avenatti and Swetnick’s claims, as
well as listing contradictions and alleging the ordeal diversions
of committee resources during the confirmation process for
then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Avenatti responded to the referral shortly after the committee
released their statement, saying he welcomes any investigation.

“It is ironic that Senator Grassley now is interested in
investigations,” Avenatti wrote
on Twitter
. “He didn’t care when it came to putting a man on
the SCOTUS for life. We welcome the investigation as now we can
finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct.
Let the truth be known.”

The claims by Avenatti’s client — and his involvement in the
process —
bothered many Democrats
. Some called his involvement in the
confirmation battle unhelpful and a “distraction.” 

“Do I think he’s in it for the showbiz part? I hope not,” Montana
Sen. Jon Tester told Business Insider days before Kavanaugh’s
confirmation. “It’s too serious of a situation.”

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