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Sen. Orrin Hatch accused of “shaming” Kavanaugh accuser

File photo of Sen. Orrin Hatch during a visit at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has faced sharp criticism for using his Twitter account to share a letter that attempts to discredit Brett Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick.

The letter is from Utahan Dennis Ketterer, who claims to have had a brief relationship with Swetnick. Swetnick has publicly claimed to have been a victim of a “gang rape” at the hands of some of Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friends. However, in the letter, Ketterer claims that Swetnick had told him the incident was fully consensual.

Sen. Hatch is facing sharp criticism for sharing the letter online, with many either arguing that he has abused his position, shared an unverified rumor about Swetnick.

Sen. Orrin Hatch’s tweet

Sen. Hatch shared excerpts from Ketterer’s letter, which he described as a “full statement made under pentaly [sic] of felony.” The statement, made to the Senate Judiciary Committee, claims:

“Julie told me that she liked to have sex with more than one guy at a time. … I asked her if this was just a fantasy of hers. She responded that she first tried sex with multiple guys while in high school and still liked it from time-to-time. … Julie never said anything about being sexually assaulted, raped, gang-raped or having sex against her will. She never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity.”

Dennis Ketterer is a Utah native and a former Democratic candidate. He claims that he met Swetnick in a bar in Washington, D.C., and shared a brief relationship with her.

Ketterer told the Washington Post that he was connected with Sen. Orrin Hatch by a church leader at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We talked about doing the right thing,” Ketterer says, “and the right thing was not to hold it back.”

Sen. Hatch referred Ketterer to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley before sharing parts of his letter with his followers on Twitter.

The backlash

It is Sen. Orrin Hatch’s decision to share Ketterer’s claims publicly on Twitter that has created such an incredible backlash from media outlets, Twitter users, and figures involved in the Kavanaugh investigation alike.

The Washington Post called Sen. Hatch’s use of Twitter “highly unusual”, criticizing him for sharing “explicit and unconfirmed details” with the wide public.

The majority of the responses on Twitter, likewise, have been negative, with some calling Sen. Hatch “despicable” and others outright calling for his resignation:

The controversy follows on the heels of another that hit Hatch just last Thursday after he called Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford a “pleasing” and “attractive witness.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch declines to comment

Sen. Orrin Hatch during the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh. Sept. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

KSL Newsradio invited Sen. Orrin Hatch to sit down with Dave & Dujanovic and talked about his decision to share Dennis Ketterer’s claims over Twitter. Sen. Hatch’s declined, however, instead, providing this statement:

“Senator Hatch doesn’t have any other comments on the letter. His office followed protocol in immediately relaying information relevant to the senate judiciary committee for investigation and disclosed his involvement when the accusations were made public.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch appears to stand by his decision. Since posting Ketterer’s letter, he has shared dozens of articles and tweets reaffirming his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

More to the story

Listen to what Dave & Dujanovic had to say about Sen. Orrin Hatch’s tweet on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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