Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Gaetz has denied the allegations and pointed out how convenient it is that he is a close ally of former President Donald Trump and is now being slandered and attacked the same way they did with Trump.
The Hill reports:
Investigators are examining whether the congressman has violated federal sex trafficking laws by paying for the girl to travel with him, sources told the Times.
The examination of the 38-year-old congressman’s alleged personal relationship is reportedly part of a larger probe into Gaetz’s political ally and former local Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, who faces charges of sex trafficking a child and providing payment to people, including at least one female minor, in exchange for sex.
A photo posted to Twitter in 2019 showed Greenberg, who has since resigned from his Seminole County post, visiting the White House with Gaetz.
Greenberg pleaded not guilty to the charges last year and is scheduled to appear in an Orlando court in June. The former Florida official was sent to jail earlier this month for violating the terms of his bail, the Times reported.
No charges have formally been filed against Gaetz, and his lawyers have been in contact with the DOJ who reportedly stated that the congressman is the subject of a probe, not the target of it.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz noted. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Axios reported later Tuesday that Gaetz confirmed he is under federal investigation related to his sexual relationships with women, though he denied the accusations against him and said they are instead "rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million ... in exchange for making this case go away."
Gaetz gave Axios screenshots of text messages, emails and documents that he claimed were part of an extortion effort coordinated by a former Justice Department employee.
“The allegations against me are as searing as they are false," he told Axios. "I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy."
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