- Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is under investigation for alleged sexual relationship with an underage girl
- Gaetz is under investigation to determine whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, said a source familiar with the case.
- “None of the allegations against me are true,” the 38-year-old Republican said in a statement.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a prominent conservative in Congress and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that the Justice Department is investigating him for a prior relationship but has denied any wrongdoing, The Associated Press reported.
Gaetz, who represents parts of West Florida, is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to ride with him, and is under investigation to determine whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, a person familiar with. with the case he told The Associated Press. Those laws make it illegal to transport a person under the age of 18 across state lines to have sex.
Matt Gaetz investigated for alleged sexual relationship with a minor
The investigation has been ongoing for nearly a year and Gaetz has known for months that it was under investigation, the person said. The Justice Department has also been investigating whether the 38-year-old Gaetz may also have been involved in relationships with other underage girls, the person said.
The person was unable to publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity. Gaetz told Axios that his lawyers were informed that he was the subject of an investigation “on sexual conduct with women”, but that he was not the target of the investigation.
The Republican denied the allegations
The Republican denied ever having a relationship with underage girls and said the accusations against him were “as scathing as they are false.” “None of the allegations against me are true,” Gaetz, 38, said in a statement alleging they were part of a concerted effort to blackmail him.
On Fox News later Tuesday, Gaetz explained that “providing flights and hotel rooms for people you are dating who are of legal age is not a crime,” he reported. The Wall Street Journal.
A subject is conventionally viewed as someone whose actions fall within the scope of a criminal investigation, while a target is someone whom prosecutors have gathered evidence linking to a crime. But during the course of an investigation, a subject can become a target.
Gaetz’s comments came shortly after The New York Times first reported on the investigation. It is a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to have sex.
Republican alleges he is the victim of a plot
Gaetz alleged that the allegations were part of an extortion plot by a former Justice Department official, whom he did not name. “Over the past few weeks, my family and I have been the victims of organized criminal extortion involving a former Justice Department official seeking $ 25 million while threatening to defame my name,” Gaetz said in a statement.
Gaetz said his family has been cooperating with the FBI and said his father was carrying a recording device, by order of the FBI, “to catch these criminals“. He demanded that the Justice Department release the recordings, The Associated Press reported.
“None of the allegations against me are true, and the people promoting these lies are the targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,” he said. The Times cited three people familiar with the matter, saying the scrutiny was part of a larger Justice Department investigation.
The investigation is into one of his political allies and Florida political colleague, Joel Greenberg, who was charged last summer with sex trafficking and other charges of harassment of a political opponent, the AP said. A judge ordered the former tax collector to return to jail earlier this month for violating the conditions of his release. “I think there are people in the Justice Department who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know, when I was single,” Gaetz told Axios.
“Someone is trying to make that look criminal.”
“Definitely, in my single days, I’ve provided the women I’ve dated,” Gaetz said. “You know, I have paid for flights, hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a couple. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not. ” Gaetz has not been charged with any crime. The Justice Department did not immediately comment.
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