NBC News sat on exculpatory evidence exonerating Justice Brett Kavanaugh from the ludicrous allegations that he had participated in gang rapes when he was in high school.

Why? Because the “news value was limited,” NBC reporter Kate Snow explained this weekend.

Yes, really.

Snow authored an Oct. 25 article highlighting then-unreported inconsistencies in a signed declaration from a woman whom celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti claimed could corroborate his client Julie Swetnick’s allegation that she witnessed Kavanaugh drugging and sexually abusing girls when he was just 15 years old.

This too-late report came out the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it had referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Along with appearing to be a defensive reaction to the DOJ referral, the Oct. 25 report made NBC’s already atrocious Kavanaugh coverage look even worse. The report also rendered NBC’s decision to air a one-on-one interview on Oct. 2 between Snow and Swetnick even more inexplicable and indefensible than it already was.

Snow’s Oct. 25 follow-up article showed she and her team knew as early as Sept. 30 of serious inconsistencies and discrepancies in one of the chief allegations leveled against Kavanaugh. She even reported that Avenatti himself tried on Oct. 3 to “thwart” the “reporting process” and apparently placed words in the mouth of his supposed witness.

NBC knew by Oct. 4 that the Swetnick allegation was a deliberate or deranged lie but said nothing for more than three weeks.

I contacted NBC last week and asked how it justified sitting on what it knew about the errors in Avenatti's story in the days leading up to the Senate’s Oct. 6 vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Though Snow declined to respond to me directly, she took a crack at defending herself via social media.

“Important context to my and [senior NBC producer Anna Schecter’s] story regarding a second woman Michael Avenatti put forward to corroborate Julie Swetnick’s claims about Brett Kavanaugh,” she tweeted Saturday. “My interview with Ms. Swetnick aired on October 1. She was making serious claims, so we took care to provide viewers the full context around her allegations and our reporting with a 13+ min piece.”

She added, “We also made clear – in the interest of full transparency – that NBC News had not been able to independently verify her claims. After repeated requests to Avenatti for corroboration of Swetnick’s story, he had conferenced us into a call with a woman. The day after our Swetnick [interview] aired, Mr. Avenatti tweeted out a sworn statement from that other woman. It was inconsistent with what she had told us.”

None of this absolves NBC from airing an interview with a woman whose story the network could not verify in any capacity. But it gets worse.

“By the time we were able to find the woman independently from Mr. Avenatti, who declined to give us her full legal name and phone number, and fully report and vet her story, the Kavanaugh confirmation process was over and the news value was limited,” Snow tweeted this weekend [emphasis added].

I’m sorry, what?

They determined there was “limited” “news value” to a story showing a woman and her attorney almost certainly engaged in a conspiracy to defame and derail the confirmation hearing of a now-seated Supreme Court justice? Snow and her team didn’t think the differences between the Oct. 2 sworn statement issued by Avenatti versus what the second woman told NBC on Sept. 30 were worth reporting at the time?

Snow and her team didn’t think Avenatti’s alleged attempt on Oct. 3 to “thwart the reporting process” held any news value during the height of the Kavanaugh confirmation battle?

Nonsense. Just total nonsense.

Snow’s tweet thread concluded, “To be clear – we did NOT have enough reporting to publish the second woman’s account until after Justice Kavanaugh secured enough votes for confirmation. When Senator Grassley cited my interview with Swetnick this week when making a criminal referral, the second woman’s story became newsworthy again, so we published right away.”

“We always want to be clear and fully transparent around our reporting, and that’s what we’re doing here,” she added.

I theorized last week that NBC shelved the Avenatti inconsistencies out of professional embarrassment. I also suggested they chose to report the story on Oct. 25 because they were trying to get ahead of DOJ investigation, which will most likely uncover Avenatti’s communications with the network.

But Snow is really going to go with the explanation that she and her team sat on the story because they believed the “news value was limited.”

I wonder, did she tweet that with a straight face?