Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked the credibility of a woman who has come forward with allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as the FBI investigates accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against the nominee.
In a statement released Sunday, McConnell highlighted a lawsuit brought against Julie Swetnick 18 years ago by a company she briefly worked for at the time called WebTrends Corporation. The lawsuit was dismissed shortly after it was filed in late 2000, the court documents show.
A passage from the complaint obtained by CNN reads, “Shortly after becoming employed with WebTrends, a co-worker reported to WebTrends’ human resources department that Swetnick had engaged in unwelcome, sexually offensive conduct. Rather than accept responsibility for her actions, Swetnick made false and retaliatory allegations that other co-workers had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward her.”
The complaint also says Swetnick provided false information on her employment application, including the claim she graduated from Johns Hopkins University, when the company said the university has no record of her attendance. She is also accused of falsely characterizing her past work experience.
Swetnick is represented by attorney Michael Avenatti, who told CNN in a statement that the claim is “completely bogus, which is why it was dismissed almost immediately.”
Avenatti said the defamation suit was filed in retaliation for a claim she submitted against the company. “They filed then. And they dismissed it because it has no merit,” he said.
In her statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Swetnick said Kavanaugh was present at a high school party where she was the victim of a “gang” rape. She did not identify Kavanaugh as one of her attackers. She also said over a series of parties, she saw Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women during the early 1980s.” Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations.
Swetnick also filed a different sexual harassment complaint against a former employer, New York Life, a decade ago and was represented in the matter by the firm of the current lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford, two sources told CNN. Swetnick was not represented by Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, in that case.
Avenatti has said there was “no coordination whatsoever” between Katz and his client on Swetnick’s accusation against Kavanaugh.
As of Sunday morning, there was no indication that the FBI was going to talk to Swetnick.
CNN’s Patricia DiCarlo and Sara Sidner contributed to this report