- Attorney Michael Avenatti welcomed a potential criminal probe by the Justice Department into statements he and his client Julie Swetnick made about alleged sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
- "It's Christmas in October," Avenatti said, noting that any such probe would also look into whether Kavanaugh lied to the Judiciary Committee about Swetnick's allegations.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has "now opened a Pandora's box" with his request for an investigation of Avenatti and Swetnick, the attorney said.
Michael Avenatti on Thursday gleefully welcomed a potential criminal probe by the Justice Department into statements that the lawyer and his client Julie Swetnick made about alleged sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
"It's Christmas in October," Avenatti said.
The outspoken attorney said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has "now opened a Pandora's box" with his request Thursday for an investigation of Avenatti and Swetnick's statements because it will mean the FBI also will have to probe the denials of misconduct by Kavanaugh in response to Swetnick's claims.
"We welcome the investigation," Avenatti said during a press conference outside the Time Warner Center in New York.
"The only way to prove that my client's allegations are false, as Sen. Grassley falsely claims, is for there to be a full and fair investigation of my client's allegations."
"There will be no question that Judge Kavanaugh lied" to the Grassley-led Judiciary Committee when he denied Swetnick's claims, which have included descriptions of booze-fueled, 1980s house parties where intoxicated girls were gang raped, the lawyer said. Kavanaugh had also denied two other women's allegations of sexual misconduct.
"We're going to put Judge Kavanaugh on trial," Avenatti said.
Avenatti said such a probe should have been done before Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed by the full Senate earlier this month, after the Grassley-chaired Judiciary Committee heard testimony from a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the justice of trying to rape her in the early 1980s.
The committee did not question Swetnick and the White House did not instruct the FBI to interview her at that time, as Avenatti had repeatedly offered.
Grassley in a letter to the Justice Department cited "contradictions" between what Swetnick originally said about Kavanaugh to the Judiciary Committee in an affidavit in late September and what she later told NBC News in an interview Oct. 1.
"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.
"Sen. Grassley just stepped into it, to be clear," Avenatti said. "We welcome it, and we want a full and fair investigation by the Justice Department and the FBI of my client."
"I don't think that Sen. Grassley or his minions thought this out."