Rumors started swirling early Tuesday that unknown figures were planning to make false sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in an effort to discredit him and the Russia investigation. Since then, Mueller’s office confirmed the nature of the false allegation story and said that the matter had been referred to the FBI.
Now the man behind this apparent hoax, Jack Burkman, has come forward to say, yeah, he has a client who’s going to expose Mueller “at high noon.” He appeared in a bizarre video tease of his plans on Facebook and also blasted this out on Twitter.
“Some sad news. On Thursday, November 1, at the Rosslyn Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims,” he said. I applaud the courage and dignity and grace and strength of my client.”
“This isn’t something I take any delight in,” he claimed, while allegedly paying a woman to accuse a life-long Republican war hero and former FBI director of sexual assault.
As all of this started spreading online, attorney Michael Avenatti decided to get involved and pointed to a past criticism Burkman sent his way.
“Says the lawyer dredging the sewer for clients who spew hate. Wow,” Burkman said. He was commenting on a Twitter video of Avenatti criticizing President Donald Trump for calling his client Stormy Daniels “horseface.” The caption of that video said, “Creepy Porn Lawyer lecturing all of us on what’s right and what’s wrong?”
Taken together, it seems Burkman was essentially saying, “But what about Michael Avenatti?” in advance of this controversy of his own making. Avenatti has come under fire in recent days due to a story NBC News published. That story said that an unidentified woman, who had purportedly witnessed Brett Kavanaugh spiking punch at parties where alleged gang rapes occurred, retracted that claim.
“I didn’t ever think it was Brett,” she said, claiming Avenatti “twisted [her] words” to support Julie Swetnick‘s claims.
The Republican operative Burkman identifies himself on Twitter as a registered lobbyist and the host of Behind the Curtain, “a national radio and TV talk show on @newsmaxTV.”
As Law&Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher reported, special counsel spokesperson Peter Carr said, “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.”
The Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand was one of the first journalists to confirm the attempted smear campaign after word of it started getting out.
Independent investigative journalist Scott Stedman, whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, first alerted the world to the work being done in a series of tweets during the early morning hours on Tuesday. At 1:05 a.m. he wrote, “I wasn’t going to report on this, but I think my fears are coming true. Based on information that I am privy to, I believe false accusations will be spread about Mueller in order to discredit him and possibly the journalists who are preparing this story.”
Bertrand identified the alleged culprit as Burkman on Tuesday, saying that he is “a conservative radio host, [who] is known for spreading conspiracy theories.”
“He launched his own private investigation into the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistleblowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election,” she added.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via Facebook screengrab]
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