A Jewish woman who is a longtime federal contract worker has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at “train rape” parties when they were both in high school, the third woman to level accusations against him in recent weeks.
Julie Swetnick claims in a sworn affadavit that she was a victim of “gang rapes” at parties frequented by Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge in high school, lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted Wednesday.
“She reached out to me for representation and yes she is Jewish,” Avenatti told the Forward via email.
Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. pic.twitter.com/QHbHBbbfbE— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 26, 2018
Swetnick graduated from public high school in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a Washington D.C. suburb with a significant Jewish population near Kavanaugh’s childhood home.
Swetnick’s aunt Helene Moglen is a prominent Jewish feminist and literary scholar at University of California at Santa Cruz. Reached by phone on Wednesday, Moglen said “we’re too busy right now” and hung up.
Julie Swetnick said that she met Kavanaugh and Judge, who were students at the elite Georgetown Prep school, at a party in 1980 or 1981. She said that she had attended “well over ten” house parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were present, and that she saw Kavanaugh drink excessively and engage in aggressive physical behavior towards women without their consent.
She added that she became aware at the time that Kavanaugh, Judge and others had tried to spike the drinks served at the parties with drugs and grain alcohol, and that the boys tried to cause women to become drunk so that they could gang rape them. She also said that she was the victim of one such gang rape at a party that Kavanaugh and Judge attended.
“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement on Wednesday provided by the White House. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
Swetnick’s recollections are similar — but significantly more graphic and detailed — to those of psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, who told The Washington Post last week that Kavanaugh and Judge “corralled” her into a bedroom at a house party, and that Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and groped her while she tried to get away.
Kavanaugh said in a Fox News interview on Monday that he never sexually assaulted Blasey Ford or anyone else and had never attended a party like the one Blasey Ford described.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that his staff are investigating Swetnick’s claims, but that the scheduled hearing tomorrow with Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford will go forward. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Kavanaugh has written in his prepared testimony that he “did things in high school that make me cringe now,” but that allegations against him are untrue and that he is a victim of “grotesque and obvious character assassination.”
President Trump derided Avenatti as a “low life” who should not be taken seriously in a rambling press conference Wednesday. But he also said Kavanaugh’s accusers should be heard at Thursday’s explosive Judiciary Committee hearing.
Trump said he was “open to being convinced” by Kavanaugh’s accusers and repeatedly used the plural even though Republican senators are only allowing Blasey Ford — and not Swetnick — to testify in public.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and all the Judiciary Committee’s Democrats called on Kavanaugh to withdraw in light of the allegations, and said if he does not, an FBI investigation is needed before any Senate confirmation vote.
“If our Republican colleagues proceed without an investigation, it would be a travesty for the honor of the Supreme Court and our country,” Schumer said in a statement.
Swetnick is the granddaughter of Russian immigrants Joseph and Bella Moglen. Joseph Moglen was a Yiddish-speaking jewelry store worker, a socialist trade union activist and “working class intellectual” from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Their daughter Elaine Moglen Swetnick, Julie’s mother, graduated from Hunter College and worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, according to her obituary.
Julie Swetnick’s 95-year-old father, Martin, is a retired NASA physicist. Julie Swetnick has two siblings, Adam and Susan.
Julie Swetnick is an information technology specialist and a longtime federal contractor with active clearances with the Treasury Department, IRS and U.S. Mint, according to her affidavit. Supporters point out that she could lose her clearance if she is found to have lied in a sworn affidavit.
Martin Swetnick told the Washington Post he was shocked to hear that his daughter was in the headlines. He admitted he had long fallen out of touch with all of his children.
“The only time we communicate is on my birthday when she sends me an email,” Swetnick said.
The elderly father called Julie Swetnick a good high school student and said she never mentioned being sexually abused by Kavanaugh or anyone else.
“Maybe we were poor parents,” he told the Post. “She lived her life. We didn’t discuss it.”
A neighbor who described himself as the first African American to move into the Swetnicks’ block in Montgomery Village, Maryland, fondly remembered the family as welcoming in an era when racism and segregation were powerful forces.
Julie was just a child when she and her parents brought a cake and fruit to the home of Donald Fontaine, the Post reported.
“I remember how appreciative we were when the Swetnicks welcomed us,” said Fontaine, a retired IBM scientist, adding that he would “certainly believe” Julie Swetnick’s claims.
Jenny Singer and Chana Pollack contributed reporting.
Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward.