NBC hid exculpatory information that would have cleared Kavanaugh of gang rape accusation
NBC News is admitting that information that would have exonerated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of a gang rape accusation was kept from the public. Instead, despite knowing that the charge against Kavanaugh was bogus, NBC ran the story anyway.
The information involves the sworn affidavit of a supposed witness to the gang rape given to the Judiciary Committee by attorney Michael Avenatti on behalf of the alleged "victim," Julie Swetnick. Swetnick said Kavanaugh was present during her rape by several of his friends.
But the witness claims that Avenatti twisted her words.
Controversial attorney Michael Avenatti and client Julie Swetnick claimed last month Kavanaugh took part in high school gang rapes just as Kavanaugh was defending himself against a separate, uncorroborated claim. Avenatti connected NBC News with an anonymous woman he claimed could corroborate Swetnick's allegations, but instead accused the lawyer of "twisting" her words. Still, NBC went with Swetnick's story without disclosing the exculpatory reporting.
On Thursday, nearly three weeks after Kavanaugh's confirmation, NBC News published an article headlined, "New questions raised about Avenatti claims regarding Kavanaugh," that detailed "inconsistencies" with Swetnick's claims. In the article, NBC News admitted the unidentified woman repudiated the sworn statement Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee on her behalf to corroborate Swetnick's claims. ...
"Reached by phone independently from Avenatti on Oct. 3, the woman said she only 'skimmed' the declaration. After reviewing the statement, she wrote in a text on Oct. 4 to NBC News: 'It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn't see anyone spike the punch...I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one,'" NBC News reporters Kate Snow and Anna Schecter wrote on Thursday.
"I would not ever allow anyone to be abusive in my presence. Male or female," the woman told NBC when pressed about Avenatti and his client's claims, according to NBC's report.
NBC's latest story also noted that Avenatti attempted to "thwart the reporting process" and the woman changed her mind several times before eventually texting the network a final time.
"I will definitely talk to you again and no longer Avenatti. I do not like that he twisted my words," she wrote.
Not surprisingly, Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley has referred both Avenatti and Swetnick for perjury prosecution.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday referred lawyer Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for a second criminal investigation, alleging that Avenatti had submitted a fraudulent sworn statement to the committee on Oct. 2. Grassley also referred Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, to the Justice Department for a separate investigation Thursday, for three separate crimes: conspiracy, providing false statements to Congress and obstructing a Senate investigation. ...
In a letter to the Justice Department, Grassley wrote that his second referral stemmed "from a second declaration he submitted to the Committee that also appears to contain materially false statements." Grassley cited an NBC News report from Thursday that alleged inconsistencies in a sworn statement by a woman submitted to the Judiciary Committee that was supposed to bolster Swetnick's claim.
Swetnick was never a credible witness. The fact that she sued her former employer for being sexually harassed by two male coworkers after they had filed suit against her for harassment – later withdrawing her own suit – would have convinced any professional journalist that her accusation was baseless.
But that would have interfered with NBC's efforts to prevent the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The network's actions were a blatant attempt to inject partisanship into their reporting. Selectively choosing which facts to report is exactly what "fake news" is all about.
NBC was spinning a tale, not reporting the news. Its story on the "witness" who says Avenatti twisted her words didn't appear until three weeks after the vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
And they wonder why Trump attacks the media?