Conspiracy or coincidence? CNN reports, the rest of us decide. If you’re of a mind that there are no such things as coincidences, especially in politics, then this little factoid that emerged last night might have set off four-alarm bells:
Julie Swetnick, who went public on Wednesday with her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, was represented in a sexual harassment complaint by the firm of the current lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford.
Ford is the first woman to go public with accusations against Kavanaugh and is represented by Debra Katz.
When this first hit last night, the story was that Katz herself represented Swetnick, which turns out not to be the case. Still, there was a connection, if indirect. If one was inclined to disbelieve in coincidences, one could craft a scenario in which Katz — a Democratic Party activist and fundraiser — has developed Kavanaugh accusers and split them out among other activist attorneys in order to create a campaign against his confirmation.
This theory has a couple of holes in it, though. First, the firm denies that Katz herself had anything to do with Swetnick, either then or now. Avenatti denies it too, of course:
A source familiar with the matter confirmed that a lawyer at Katz’s firm did represent Swetnick, but that it was not Katz herself. The source said Katz never represented Swetnick and that the firm did not refer Swetnick to Avenatti for representation.
Appearing on CNN, Avenatti said while he was vetting Swetnick, he learned of the New York Life case, saying “(Katz is) one of the leading lawyers in Washington, DC, on sexual harassment and other types of claims, so it’s not surprising that she used her.” Avenatti added there was “no coordination whatsoever” between Katz and his client on Swetnick’s accusation against Kavanaugh.
Avenatti, some will scoff, is hardly the most credible voice in this crapfest. And they’d be correct, which is why he’s the biggest hole in the theory. Let’s say Katz was the mastermind of a massive smear campaign and was parceling out accusers in order to cover up her machinations. What attorney and/or Democratic Party activist in their right mind would hand off a source to Michael Avenatti? Even apart from his own political hackery and axes to grind, bringing him into the story would instantly distract from the alleged victims as Avenatti sucked all the media oxygen away from not just that accuser but all of them, in a manner which reduces their credibility too. If you’re watching national news on TV this morning, you’ll know exactly what I mean, a point to which I’ll return in a moment.
Also, a conspiracy headed by Katz to undermine Kavanaugh would not have chosen Julie Swetnick as a messenger. Not only is her affidavit completely unbelievable, she has other credibility issues that any competent attorney would have discovered for himself before having her go public:
A Miami-Dade County court docket shows a petition for injunction against Swetnick was filed March 1, 2001, by her former boyfriend, Richard Vinneccy, who told POLITICO Wednesday the two had dated for four years before they broke up. …
“Right after I broke up with her, she was threatening my family, threatening my wife and threatening to do harm to my baby at that time,” Vinneccy said in a telephone interview with POLITICO. “I know a lot about her.”
“She’s not credible at all,” he said. “Not at all.”
The news apparently caught Avenatti unaware:
Reached late Wednesday, Avenatti said he knew nothing of a restraining order and called the line of inquiry irrelevant.
“Complete nonsense. No truth to this at all. Her ex-boyfriend fraudulently used her resume to apply for and obtain jobs and was caught by her,” said Avenatti. “Why are you all attacking a sexual assault victim? Would that be appropriate in a court of law?”
That brings us back to Avenatti’s Full Ginsburg today. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota apparently wanted to know why Swetnick kept attending gang-rape parties even after she claimed she’d been victimized by them, a question which Avenatti refused to answer, according to Joe Concha. As for the public record of the restraining order, Avenatti blamed that on a “far right” publication … named Politico, I guess:
More Avenatti when Camerota broaches a Politico report that his client isn't credible: "That’s the best the far right can drum up is some ex-boyfriend that claims she’s not credible." Yup – he called Politico a far right publication… https://t.co/8xEGoWqyGc
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 27, 2018
To bring this back around to the original question: Yes, it’s almost certainly just a coincidence that Swetnick used Katz’ firm for an earlier sexual harassment claim. If not, this would have to be the most legally and politically incompetent conspiracy since someone thought it would be a great idea to break into the Democrats’ headquarters at the Watergate complex.