GOP Rep. Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican MP Matt Gaetz, a prominent Conservative in Congress and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he was being investigated by the Justice Department over a past relationship but denied any criminal wrongdoing.
Gaetz, who represents parts of western Florida, is accused of having had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to travel with him. He is being investigated to see if he has violated state sex trafficking laws familiar with the case, The Associated Press said.
The investigation has been ongoing for almost a year and Gaetz has been aware that he is being investigated for months, the person said. The Justice Department has also investigated whether the 38-year-old Gaetz may have been involved in relationships with other underage girls.
The person was unable to publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Gaetz told Axios that his attorneys were informed that he was the subject of an investigation “regarding sexual behavior with women,” but that he was not a target of the investigation. He denied ever having had a relationship with underage girls, saying the allegations against him were “as scorching as they are false”.
A subject is traditionally viewed as someone whose actions come within the scope of a criminal investigation, while a target is someone whose prosecution has gathered evidence related to a crime. However, in the course of an investigation, a subject can become a target.
Gaetz’s comments came shortly after the New York Times first reported the investigation. It is a federal crime to transport minors across state lines for sex.
Gaetz alleged the allegations were part of a blackmail plan by a former Justice Department official he did not name.
“In the past few weeks, my family and I have been the victims of organized criminal blackmail involving a former DOJ official who sought $ 25 million while threatening to smear my name,” Gaetz said in a statement.
Gaetz said his family worked with the FBI and that his father carried a recording device “to catch these criminals” as directed by the FBI. He asked the Justice Department to release the recordings.
“Neither part of the allegations against me is true, and the people who are telling these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,” he said.
Quoting three people familiar with the matter, the Times said the investigation was part of a wider Justice Department investigation into one of his Florida political allies and fellow politicians, Joel Greenberg, who was charged with sex trafficking and other allegations he was pursuing last summer Opponent. A judge ordered the former tax collector earlier this month to return to prison for violating the terms of his release.
“I think there are people in the Justice Department who try to criminalize my sexual behavior, you know, when I was a single man,” Gaetz told Axios.
“In my individual days I definitely took care of women with whom I made an appointment,” said Gaetz. “You know, I paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make this look criminal when it isn’t. “
Gaetz was not accused of any crime. The Justice Department did not respond immediately.
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