- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Republican senators are pressing the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against women who made false rape accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing last year.

Nine of the 12 Republican members on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for an update to the committee’s four referrals for criminal investigation.

“We are grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not entirely sure about the accuracy of that information. But, when individuals intentionally mislead the committee, they divert important committee resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impede its work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal,” said the letter.

During the course of the probe into Justice Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford came public with allegations of sexual misconduct against him, a few others came forward with different complaints, in an attempt to stop the nominee’s confirmation to the court.

Justice Kavanaugh vehemently denied any misconduct and the allegations were never corroborated.

The committee staff discovered at least four individuals had falsified their claims, suggesting they’ve violated the law by making false statements to Congress, obstructing a Congressional investigation and committing conspiracy.

The letter asked for the Justice Department and FBI to respond to their inquiry by Oct. 21.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.

Two of the individuals the committee wanted referred for criminal conduct was lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick for falsifying information to the committee in a claim she had witnessed the nominee and a group of his friends getting women drunk at a college party and gang-raping them.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Avenatti has faced accusations of legal misconduct.

The plagued attorney, who is best known for his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels, is also going to trial in April on claims he stole about $300,000 from Ms. Daniels in a book deal. He’s also been charged with criminal extortion after attempting to blackmail Nike for $20 million.

But allies of President Trump have credited Mr. Avenatti’s flailing representation of Ms. Swetnick for getting Justice Kavanaugh confirmed.

“Between President Trump and you, there is a third person that really should get the game ball for getting Kavanaugh over the finish line,” said former White House Counsel Don McGahn at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to Fox News.

“It is Michael Avenatti. The day he burst on the scene, everyone — ‘oh no he’s here.’ I said, ‘Oh no, he’s here. This is good news,’” Mr. McGahn said.

Another woman, Judy Munro-Leighton, claimed in a letter that the nominee and a friend had raped her. But when questioned by the committee staff, she admitted it was not true and said the false claim was made to “grab attention.”

The final individual, whom the committee referred for prosecution but is not named in the letter, made a false allegation that the nominee assaulted a friend on a boat in Rhode Island in 1985. That man, identified as Jeffrey Catalan in media reports at the time and via his Twitter handle in earlier Senate documents, eventually admitted the claim was not true and apologized on Twitter.

The letter was signed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

The three panel Republicans who didn’t sign the letter are Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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