Law & the Courts

Grassley Seeks Update after Asking DOJ to Investigate Swetnick and Avenatti’s Kavanaugh Allegations

Senator Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 2, 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters )

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) on Tuesday asked the Justice Department for an update on his criminal referrals of several people suspected of lying to investigators regarding accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Grassley, who chaired the Judiciary Committee during Kavanaugh’s acrimonious confirmation process a year ago, recommended the DOJ conduct criminal investigations of four individuals, including Julie Swetnick, who accused Kavanaugh of being part of gang rapes during his high school years, and her attorney Michael Avenatti .

“While most of those individuals appear to have contacted the committee in good faith, some did not,” Grassley wrote in a letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“When individuals intentionally mislead the committee, they divert important committee resources during time sensitive investigations and materially impede its work,” the The Iowa Republican wrote.  “Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal. It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct committee investigations.”

The other two individuals Grassley referred for potential criminal prosecution were a man who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting a friend on a boat in Rhode Island in 1985 and a woman named Julie Munro-Leighton who accused the judge of raping her multiple times, but later said she made the accusation “as a way to grab attention.”

Grassley also expressed concern for the future of the judicial confirmation process, saying such “false” allegations simply bog down the committee and waste resources.

“The next Supreme Court nominee should not have to defend himself or herself against baseless and fabricated allegations, and committee staff should not have to spend valuable time investigating them,” Grassley said.

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