Questions Surround Ex-Boyfriend of Third Kavanaugh Accuser, Julie Swetnick

Kavanaugh testifying at Senate hearing.
Kavanaugh testifying at Senate hearing. Via C-SPAN
Yesterday, hours before Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Politico, the Miami Herald, and dozens of other news outlets published stories noting that another woman who accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexual transgressions — Julie Swetnick — had a black mark on her resumé. A Miami ex-boyfriend, Richard Vinneccy, filed a restraining order against her March 1, 2001.

But nobody has seen the order itself. At least seven news outlets submitted requests at the civil courthouse in downtown Miami for the document, but clerks are unsure if it's in storage or was destroyed.

It's unclear what Vinneccy alleged when he filed for what was technically a temporary injunction. What's clear from the records is the case was dismissed 12 days later, when neither Vinneccy nor Swetnick showed up at a hearing for a permanent injunction.

The stories published since news of the restraining order broke have largely read as one-sided attempts to call Swetnick's credibility into question. Vinneccy told Politico that he and Swetnick had dated for four years and then split. “Right after I broke up with [Swetnick], she was threatening my family, threatening my wife, and threatening to do harm to my baby at that time,” Vinneccy told the website.

Swetnick has worked for the federal government for many years and has held seven government security clearances. And there are plenty of court records that raise questions about Vinneccy himself that have so far gone unmentioned. (Politico's story quoted Swetnick's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, calling the claims nonsense and saying Vinneccy had "fraudulently used her resumé to apply for and obtain jobs and was caught by her.")

The court records show two of Vinneccy's wives filed for divorce, the second after only four months. Banks have repeatedly gone after him in court. OneWest Bank placed a lien on his property in Miami after his mortgage was foreclosed upon in 2011. He opened a patio-refinishing business in 2012, but it was closed by the time he filed for bankruptcy in 2014. While Vinneccy at the time held roughly $178,000 in assets on his house, he had roughly $484,000 in liabilities, mainly on his second mortgage and in credit card debt. And the records raise important questions about whether his claim of threats to his "baby" were even possible.

New Times called the phone number listed for Vinneccy in court records, but it's no longer in service. A message left on a business line and emails sent to Vinneccy and three of his lawyers were not returned. A voicemail left for one of the lawyers also went unanswered.

Vinneccy told Politico he and Swetnick dated for four years but did not say (and reporters, apparently, did not ask) when they separated. Records show Vinneccy filed a petition for an injunction against Swetnick March 1, 2001. It was dismissed March 13. The very next day, March 14, Vinneccy, who is from Ecuador, and his first wife, who is from Cuba and 14 years his junior, wed.

Protection orders are occasionally misused by people who file for restraining orders using bogus claims. However, the credibility of Vinneccy's claims to news outlets are difficult to verify without reviewing the petition itself. Additionally, it seems unlikely that if Vinneccy truly felt as threatened as he claimed that he would simply not show up to the hearing where he could ensure the protection order would stay in place.

Vinneccy and his first wife remained married for nine years, until she filed for divorce in June 2010, saying the marriage was irreparable. The next year, he and another woman, who is 12 years younger than Vinneccy, wed. The marriage took place May 5, 2011. Four months later, September 14, 2011, the woman filed for divorce.

Though Vinneccy claimed Swetnick was "threatening to do harm to my baby at [the time the injunction was filed]," social media posts from his eldest child, a daughter, indicate he did not have a "baby" at that time. The injunction was filed March 1. According to an Instagram post by the girl, her birth date is April 9, 2001, so she was born more than a month after the injunction was filed.

Speaking to Politico, Vinneccy said that he knows "a lot about" Swetnick and that "she's not credible at all," seemingly dismissing the claims she has since made about a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, in 1982.

Swetnick said in a sworn statement released by Avenatti that she was sexually assaulted by Judge at a party in 1982. She also said she witnessed a teenaged Kavanaugh behave inappropriately with girls, including touching them without their consent, "grinding" against them, and attempting to remove their clothing.

At the Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Diane Feinstein asked Kavanaugh about the accusations against him: "What you're saying is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick are wrong?"

"That is emphatically what I'm saying, emphatically," Kavanaugh spat. "The Swetnick thing is a joke. It's a farce," he said, leaning back in his chair.

Though many observers have expressed concern on Twitter about Kavanaugh's belligerent, weepy testimony at the hearing, President Trump said all was well.
This post will be updated if Vinneccy can be reached. So far, senators have failed to consider or investigate Swetnick's claims.
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Meg O'Connor is a freelance journalist for Miami New Times. She moved to Miami from New York after earning a master's degree in investigative journalism from Columbia University. She previously worked for CNN's Investigative Unit.
Contact: Meg O'Connor