The latest in the allegations of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz’s involvement with a 17-year-old girl
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Gaetz would be removed from the House Judiciary Committee if the DOJ finds the allegations are true
Details continue to come out about the Justice Department’s investigation of Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz’s ties to a Florida politician who was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges last year.
Federal investigators are focusing on Gaetz and former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg’s “involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments,” The New York Times reported, citing “people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times.”
The Times first broke the story Tuesday evening, reporting that Gaetz was being investigated by the Justice Department for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and whether Gaetz had paid for the girls interstate travel.
“If prosecutors think they can prove that the payments to the women were for sex, they could accuse Mr. Gaetz of trafficking the women under ‘force, fraud or coercion,’” reported The Times.
The investigation digging into Gaetz began with the federal criminal investigation into Greenberg, NBC News reported.
- A federal indictment of Greenberg says he “used his position as Seminole County Tax Collector to engage in, and facilitate, the commission of federal offenses, including sex trafficking of a child, illegally obtaining personal information from a motor vehicle record ... illegally producing identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and money laundering,” according to NBC News.
- Greenberg met “women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances,” The Times reported, and that Greenberg has introduced women to Gaetz.
- Federal investigators are trying to determine if “other men connected to Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg had sex with the 17-year-old,” according to The New York Times.
CNN reported that Gaetz has shown videos and photos of naked women he said he’d slept with to other lawmakers.
- The images were on Gaetz’s phone, said two people who’d seen the images, according to CNN.
- “There’s no indication these pictures are connected to the DOJ investigation,” reported CNN.
Accusations are ‘false,’ says Gaetz
The Florida congressman has continued to deny the allegations, claiming he is being extorted.
- “The alleged extortion plot against Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz apparently involved two men blackmailing him with details about an alleged orgy with prostitutes in an effort to get his dad to cough up $25 million to help rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran,” The New York Post reported.
- “The allegations against me are FALSE,” Gaetz said on Twitter Thursday. “The extortion of my family by a former DOJ official is REAL.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said there were “serious implications” of the Gaetz investigation and that he would remove the Florida congressman from the Judiciary Committee if “anything comes to be true,” CNN reported.