Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has made a second request to the Department of Justice for a criminal probe into whether attorney Michael Avenatti violated federal law.
The referral came a day after Grassley’s initial request, as questions have been raised about a second statement Avenatti presented to the Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
What are the details?
On Thursday, Grassley referred Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, to the DOJ for a possible criminal investigation over allegations Swetnick made against Kavanaugh in a sworn statement to Congress.
The request alleged that Avenatti and Swetnick potentially conspired to make false statements to the committee, and in doing so obstructed the committee’s investigation into sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh.
Grassley’s first letter to the DOJ cited an Oct. 1 interview Swetnick had with NBC News, where she contradicted many of the claims made in her sworn statement to Congress.
Also on Thursday, NBC revealed inconsistencies in a second sworn statement made by a so-called witness to Swetnick’s claims. The anonymous witness told NBC on Oct. 5 that Avenatti had “twisted [her] words,” and the woman disputed material parts of her own statement to Congress — which she claims was written by Avenatti.
In his letter to the DOJ on Friday, Sen. Grassley cited NBC’s report on the disavowals made by the witness, and said he is “now referring Mr. Avenatti for investigation of additional potential violations of those same laws, stemming from a second declaration he submitted to the Committee that also appears to contain materially false statements.”
Grassley said it appears that the witness’s statement — which Avenatti presented to the committee on Oct. 2 — “appears to be an outright fraud.”
It’s been a rough week for Avenatti, who has faced a slew of unflattering news stories about him in recent days. He has denied all allegations against him, and repeatedly tried to discredit Grassley via Twitter, saying the Senator knows “nothing about the law.”
Avenatti told The Daily Caller that Grassley’s latest referral is “complete garbage,” and said, “We want the investigation started this weekend so we can show how full of crap Grassley is ASAP. He knows nothing about the law, which is not surprising seeing as he never attended law school.”