First off, Michael Avenatti is running for president in 2020. That fact cannot be divorced from anything he does in the public eye, and all his actions should be viewed with that in mind. Anything that is bad for the Republican Party is good for him, truthful or not. Now, I’m not saying that his latest client is lying, and the fact that she put her name on the allegation in a sworn deposition gives her a wealth of credibility—far more than Brett Kavanaugh has demonstrated up to this point. If Julie Swetnick had made this “gang rape” charge through literally any other lawyer, I would be less trepidatious about all this, but Avenatti’s ambition is impossible to avoid. Per Swetnick’s sworn deposition:
My name is Julie Swetnick and I am a resident of Washington D.C. I fully understand the seriousness of the statements contained within this declaration. I have personal knowledge of the information stated herein and if called to testify to the same I would and could do so.
1. I am a graduate of Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, MD.
2. I presently hold the following active clearances associated with working within the federal government: Public Trust – U.S. Department of Treasury (DOT), U.S. Mint (USM), Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
6. I first met Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh in approximately 1980-81. I was introduced to them at a house party that I attended in the Washington D.C. area. I observed Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh as extremely close friends during the early 1980s when I knew them and interacted with them. I would describe them as “joined at the hip” and I consistently saw them together in many social settings. There is no question in my mind that Mark Judge has significant information regarding the conduct of Brett Kavanaugh during the 1980s, especially as it relates to his actions toward women.
11. During the years 1981-82, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to “spike” the “punch” at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say “No.” This caused me to make an effort to purposely avoid the “punch” at those parties. I witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to “target” particular girls so they could be taken advantage of; it was usually a girl that was especially vulnerable because she was alone at the party or shy.
12. I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become so inebriated and disoriented so they could then be “gang raped” in a side room or a bedroom by a “train” of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their “turn” with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.
13. In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these “gang” or “train” rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present. Shortly after the incident, I shared what had transpired with at least two other people. During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me. I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking.
14. I am aware of other witnesses that can attest to the truthfulness of the statements above.
I declare, under penalty of perjury and under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.
National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss explained the consequences of lying in a sworn deposition like this.
As of right now, there really isn’t much else to say about these harrowing allegations made by Swetnick under penalty of perjury. The #MeToo movement has taught us all that our default position should be to believe women, and the idea that women like Julie Swetnick would make this stuff up solely to damage Brett Kavanaugh is belied by reality. Swetnick will now become the target of endless attacks by the million-dollar infrastructure the GOP has created to protect Kavanaugh, and her personal safety will certainly be in danger—as evidenced by Brett Kavanaugh’s initial accuser, Dr. Christine Ford, leaving her home in the wake of her allegations of his attempted rape. She is turning her life upside down, and the idea that petty partisanship would be enough motivation to lie about something like this is asinine. If the Senate Judiciary Committee doesn’t seriously investigate these horrifying gang rape allegations, then we can only assume that Republicans endorse this kind of behavior for those sitting on the highest court in the land.
UPDATE: Predictably, Brett Kavanaugh’s statement in response to this allegation is simply to deny it all. Given that he has denied even drinking in his younger days (when plenty of his contemporaries say otherwise), this denial has no more credibility than any of his others, but it is our journalistic duty to publish it, given the harrowing accusations laid out above by Julie Swetnick under penalty of perjury. Per Kavanaugh, not under penalty of perjury: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.