Rep. Matt Gaetz Denies Allegations Of Sex Trafficking – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has denied allegations that he was involved in the sex trade.
The Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz centers on payments he and former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg allegedly made to women for sex. This emerges from the latest report in the New York Times.
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The Times reported that the meetups were in 2019 and 2020 and that the men paid the women through mobile apps and sometimes in cash.
Republican lawmakers have not been charged and vehemently deny the allegations.
“It’s a terrible accusation and it’s a lie,” said Gaetz.
According to the Times and the AP, investigators are also investigating whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking law by allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying to travel with him.
Gaetz called the story “demonstrably wrong”. He said the allegations of inappropriateness were an attempt to criminalize his “generosity to ex-girlfriends” and alleged the allegations were part of a multi-million dollar extortion program.
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“The person doesn’t exist. I didn’t have a relationship with a 17 year old. That’s completely wrong, “he said during an appearance on Fox last Wednesday.
Political leaders on both sides said they are waiting to see what the investigation will reveal.
“I haven’t heard from the DOJor others, but I’ll take care of it if any of these come true,” said House Minority Chairman Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
“Of course, if these claims are true, the least that can be done is to be removed from the Judiciary Committee,” said House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi.
At least one democratic legislator, however, is already demanding that Gaetz be removed from the judicial committee until the investigation is completed.
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A former Justice Department official confirmed to CBS News that the investigation began at least last summer and that former Attorney General Bill Barr was aware of it. CNN also reports that Gaetz shared with other lawmakers, sometimes while he was on the floor of the house, photos and videos of naked women he slept with.