Michael Avenatti is livid after CNN breaking news editor Kyle Feldscher credited the TV lawyer with damaging Democrats’ efforts to thwart Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation by pushing far-fetched allegations of “gang rape.”
The dust-up began when Avenatti attacked Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for her criticism — not by name — of him and of his client, Julie Swetnick, for claiming Kavanaugh participated in gang rapes. “.
@SenatorCollins should be ashamed of herself for attacking my client and Dr. Ford,” Avenatti wrote on Twitter. “How did she make a credibility determination as to my client? How is she qualified to do that without ANY investigation? She did ZERO to determine whether my client and her witnesses were credible.”
During an impassioned Senate floor speech, Collins blasted Swetnick’s “outlandish allegation” and said its propagation by activists seeking to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a “stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.” Minutes after she confirmed her intention to vote “yes” for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) stepped up as the first Democrat to support Kavanaugh.
Feldscher responded to the outburst by blaming Avenatti’s antics for the presumed success of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “Hard to state how much Avenatti’s entrance into this process hurt the Democratic effort to bring down Kavanaugh’s nomination,” Feldscher wrote.
Avenatti fired back, calling his analysis an insult to sexual assault survivors. “You are right,” Avenatti wrote sarcastically. “I should have turned my back on my client. Told her to ‘shut up’ and stay quiet because people like you apparently believe assault victims are to blame.
“This line of thinking is disgusting and offensive to all survivors. And it makes lawyers not want to help them,” he added.
Feldscher replied: “Literally never suggested that, but have a good weekend sir.”
On Septemeber 23, Avenatti announced he was representing a woman with “credible” allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh and vowed to work with Senate Judiciary Committee staffers to have her story told. Days later, the lawyer released a sworn statement written by his client, Julie Swetnick, a longtime Maryland resident with a questionable past, who claimed Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge spiked punch bowls with drugs at parties during the 1980s in an effort to take advantage of women.
Over the last two weeks, Avenatti has pushed for the committee and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to interview Swetnick, a request both denied due to a lack of credibility of the claims. In a letter to panel members, a man claiming to be Swetnick’s one-time boyfriend, Dennis Ketterer, raised doubts about her testimony.
Ketterer told senators that Swetnick said she enjoyed engaging in group sex and said her father revealed to him she “had psychological and other problems.” Avenatti told the Washington Post on Friday that he may file a defamation lawsuit against Ketterer for making those statements.