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GOP senator demands update on criminal referrals for ‘bogus’ allegations against Kavanaugh

Chuck Ross, DCNF

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is demanding an update from the Biden administration on the status of criminal referrals the Republican submitted for what he calls “bogus” rape allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Grassley submitted four criminal referrals from Sept. 29, 2018 to Nov. 2, 2018, regarding unsubstantiated allegations against Kavanaugh. Two of the referrals were against disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, who claimed she witnessed Kavanaugh taking part in a gang rape at a party in the 1980s.

Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray that neither of the agencies have responded to his requests for updates on the criminal referrals.

Grassley requested an update on the referrals from the Trump administration on Oct. 8, 2019, which also went unanswered.

“These failures are entirely unacceptable,” the senator wrote in his letter on Wednesday.

“Those referrals highlighted serious cases in which individuals made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements to Committee investigators,” Grassley wrote to Garland and Wray.

The referrals for Avenatti and Swetnick centered on their claims that Swetnick witnessed Kavanaugh taking part in a gang rape at a party in the 1980s.

Neither congressional investigators nor those in the media could find evidence to support Swetnick’s claim. She also gave conflicting statements in interviews about Kavanaugh.

Avenatti has since been convicted on bribery and extortion charges.

“The Committee found that Mr. Avenatti, who has since been convicted on felony extortion charges, and his client, Ms. Swetnick, had a long history of credibility issues and may have criminally conspired to mislead the Committee regarding those allegations and obstruct its investigation,” Grassley wrote.

Republicans also submitted referrals against a person from Rhode Island who admitted on social media to lying about an allegation that Kavanaugh had assaulted someone on a boat.

They also made a referral against a woman named Judy Munro-Leighton, who said she was the author of a letter that stated that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her “several times each.”

Munro-Leighton later retracted her claim to have written the letter.

Grassley said that the allegedly false allegations “materially impeded the Committee’s work and diverted important Committee resources during its time-sensitive investigation.”

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