In the aftermath of the messy and politically charged confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has formally requested that the Department of Justice and the FBI investigate Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick. Swetnick signed a sworn affidavit alleging that now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh drugged and groped women at parties while in high school.
Grassley’s call is not only the correct one, but it will also enhance the credibility of women coming forward with sexual misconduct allegations against high-profile men in the future. By establishing that there will be criminal consequences for liars, Grassley is already helping ensure that future allegations will be taken more seriously.
Avenatti had touted Swetnick’s claims after Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of attempted rape was leaked to the media (presumably by staff of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the true villain of this parable) and then reported to the public by the Washington Post. Ford’s claims seemed at least plausible, even if they were not at all corroborated. Then, the New Yorker reported an uncorroborated allegation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a Yale classmate at a college party. (The accuser had not even been sure that the person exposing himself was Kavanaugh, until after she consulted a lawyer.) Then came Swetnick and, of course, Avenatti.