Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Thursday referred lawyer Michael Avenatti and a woman he represents to the Justice Department and the FBI for criminal investigation, claiming they made potentially false statements to Congress about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and alleged sexual misconduct.
Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, cited "contradictions" between what Avenatti's client, Julie Swetnick, originally told the Judiciary Committee about Kavanaugh in an affidavit in late September, and what she said about the then-Supreme Court nominee days later in an interview with NBC News.
In his letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for an investigation, Grassley listed "potential violations" of federal criminal code, specifically "conspiracy, false statements and obstruction of Congress."
"Swetnick made her allegations in a sworn statement to the committee on September 26. In an October 1 interview with NBC News, however, Swetnick specifically and explicitly back-tracked or contradicted key parts of her sworn statement on these and other allegations," the Judiciary Committee said in a statement.
"In subsequent interviews, Avenatti likewise cast serious doubt on or contradicted the allegations while insisting that he had thoroughly vetted his client," according to the statement.
The committee said there was a "lack of substantiating or corroborating evidence" about Swetnick's claims, and also cited "overarching and serious credibility problems pervading the presentation of these allegations."