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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz says he didn’t have a relationship with a 17-year-old despite allegations

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said that the claims are a part of an extortion investigation

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In this Feb. 26, 2021, file photo Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.,, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2021. Gaetz has denied that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, saying the claims were made as a part of an extortion attempt.

John Raoux, Associated Press

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, recently denied that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, saying the claims were made as a part of an extortion attempt.

What are the allegations against Matt Gaetz?

The New York Times reported that the Justice Department is investigating whether or not Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and whether or not he paid for her to go with him on travel ventures.

  • “It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing,” according to two unnamed sources who spoke withThe New York Times.

Unnamed sources told The New York Timesthat the allegations were a “part of a broader investigation into a political ally of his, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on an array of chargesincluding sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.”

How did Gaetz respond?

Gaetz denied the accusation. He said to CNN in a statement that  ”no part of the allegations against me are true.”

  • He said the claims were being fueled by people who are currently targets in a separate “ongoing extortion investigation.”
  • “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals,” Gaetz said in a statement, according to CNN.
  • “The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations,” Gaetz said, per CNN.

How is Tucker Carlson involved with Matt Gaetz?

Gaetz appeared on Fox News Tuesday night where he denied the allegations. He also seemed to pull Tucker Carlson, who was interviewingGaetz, into the discussion, according to The Washington Post.

  • “You and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her,” Gaetz told Carlson. Gaetz said the woman had been “threatened” by the FBI and that she would face trouble if she didn’t say Gaetz was involved in a “pay-for-play scheme.”
  • Carlson was stunned. “I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” he said.
  • Carlson, still stunned, said after the interview: “That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”

What’s next for Matt Gaetz?

Gaetz said his lawyers have been in touch with the Justice Department, perThe New York Times.It’s unclear what will happen next.