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NBC News Withheld Evidence Undermining Swetnick’s Credibility

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/REUTERS)

NBC News learned in late September that a woman identified by Julie Swetnick as a witness to Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct denied ever having witnessed the misconduct, but failed to report that information until Wednesday evening.

In preparation for an October 1 interview with Swetnick, NBC News contacted a woman she said could corroborate her allegation that Kavanaugh “spiked” the punch at numerous parties in high school in order to facilitate gang rapes. When contacted by NBC on September 30, the unidentified woman said she did not meet Swetnick until they were both adults, and denied ever having witnessed Kavanaugh “spike” anyone’s drink or act in an inappropriate manner toward anyone.

Then, on October 2, after the NBC interview in which Swetnick backtracked from her earlier claims, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, provided a statement, attributed to the same unidentified woman, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which corroborated his client’s allegations.

“During the years 1981-82, I witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol. I understood this was being done for the purpose of making girls more likely to engage in sexual acts and less likely to say ‘No,’” the statement read.

NBC News spoke to the woman again on October 4 and asked why her written statement contradicted her earlier claims, at which point she reiterated that she had never witnessed Kavanaugh engage in the conduct described. When asked why she would sign a statement to the contrary, the woman accused Avenatti of “twisting” her words and said she only skimmed the statement he prepared for her before signing it.

NBC did not reveal any of this until nearly a month after first learning that Avenatti apparently misrepresented the woman’s claims.

Asked by NBC about the discrepancies in the alleged witness’s account, Avenatti said “It is a sworn declaration that she read and signed and repeatedly stood behind.”

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice Thursday for criminal investigation related to the issuing of false statements to the Committee.

NBC News did not respond to a request for comment.

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