As of 1 p.m. ET, it looks increasingly like what did or didn’t happen to Swetnick won’t decide the nomination. If anything, the bare allegation will end up being folded into a broader statement by Collins, Murkowski, and Flake opposing the nominee. “After hearing out Dr. Ford, and mindful of the other claims made against Judge Kavanaugh, we regrettably must…” etc etc.
Still, worth noting that Avenatti was made to look bad last night by the unlikely person of Chris Cuomo and the unlikely network of CNN, normally friendly confines for Team Stormy. Before you watch the clip, re-read the key paragraphs from Swetnick’s affidavit:
She claims she knew that people were being drugged unwittingly; that this was designed to make girls submit to rape; that she saw boys lined up to take turns with drugged women at “many of these parties”; and that Kavanaugh and Judge were among them. Read paragraph 12 closely. At no point does Swetnick suggest that it only dawned on her much later, after her own rape, what those strange lines at the parties were all about.
And how could she suggest it, really? How oblivious could one possibly be to attend “many” parties, know that there are roofies in the punch, and not know what boys were lining up for?
Like everyone except Avenatti himself, I guess, Cuomo read those paragraphs and thought, “What?” So when the man himself dropped by his show last night, he asked him: What? Watch the clip.
CNN's Cuomo: Why would Julie Swetnick attend parties she said were known for gang rape?
Avenatti: You should believe her because she's the third Kavanaugh accuser so obviously there's a pattern here. pic.twitter.com/S1Qq4YBnFh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 27, 2018
Avenatti has no explanation. The best he can do is admit that she knew the punch was spiked(!), knew that something was going on in those back rooms, but … never checked what that something was, I guess?
Cuomo doesn’t let him off easy. He reads from the affidavit, noting that it implies that Swetnick was fully aware of what was going on. Avenatti’s response: You’re blaming the victim. Hoo boy.
Maybe the affidavit … just wasn’t written very well? After a tough day for Kavanaugh and the GOP, let’s unwind by watching a clip from last night of Dershowitz dunking on the right’s least favorite attorney:
I’m curious to know what legal eagles think of that critique. Bear in mind that there’s (recent) history between Avenatti and Dershowitz; the latter isn’t a wholly impartial critic here. But it’s true that there were big questions raised by Swetnick’s affidavit which the document itself made no attempt to answer. I flagged a few of them yesterday in two different posts. What duty does an attorney have to answer those questions upfront, in a document like this, when the entire point of Swetnick coming forward was to eventually put her face-to-face somehow with the Judiciary Committee, where she’d tell her story at greater length? Avenatti didn’t mean for the affidavit to be conclusory. Just the opposite: It was an introduction to the basic facts, towards a more substantive end. So while Dershowitz is right that a defense lawyer would tear it to pieces, so what? This is just her opening bid.