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.
Kavanaugh's polarizing confirmation proceedings ended on Oct. 6, when the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm him to the high court.
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.
As the mainstream media put a focus on alleged misconduct by Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation, NBC News’ reporting was among the most salacious. The network aired an interview with Swetnick on Oct. 1 -- despite admitting it could not substantiate her claims and that she had changed her story.
At the time, Cornell Law School professor and Legal Insurrection blogger William Jacobson told Fox News that “outlets like NBC News provide the fuel that feeds the anti-Kavanaugh firestorm” that was sweeping the mainstream media ahead of the polarizing confirmation vote.
Avenatti, who recently lost the defamation case he filed against President Trump on behalf of porn star Stormy Daniels, has been evicted from his law offices and owes a former colleague $5 million, has earned a reputation for wild claims. But for NBC News to run with a story that its own hidden reporting showed could be inaccurate is bad journalism, said critics.