This week, the news broke that the Republican congressional representative Matt Gaetz (38) is allegedly being investigated for whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. According to several American media, it is also being investigated whether Gaetz has been guilty of human trafficking by paying for her travels.
Gaetz is not charged and stubbornly denies all charges. He has also claimed that the accusations are based on an attempt to blackmail him.
Must have shown nude photos
According to CNN and The Washington Post, both of which refer to unnamed sources, Gaetz reportedly showed pictures of naked women, and discussed his own sexual intercourse with them, to both lawmakers and local politicians in Florida.
The pictures are said to have been shown in private contexts, and according to CNN’s sources also in the congress building itself.
However, there is no indication that the alleged photos are linked to the investigation, or that they showed minors, the media writes.
According to The Washington Post, Gaetz is said to have boasted about the “access” he had to women via the human trafficking accused Republican Joel Greenberg. They also write that Gaetz is being investigated for several suspected sex purchases across state borders.
Gaetz denies all allegations in an SMS to the newspaper.
– I’ve never paid for sex. I have never had sex with a minor as an adult. I have been with women who study and take higher education, and I have boasted that they are beautiful evenly, as boyfriends do, he writes.
According to the news agency AP, Gaetz has quickly been left alone in the party. Few Republicans have defended the Florida representative. Gaetz’s spokesman Luke Ball chose to resign on Friday, according to CBS.
Among the few who support Gaetz is the controversial Republican Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, according to The Guardian.
Asks Trump to stay away
According to several American media, investigators are investigating whether Gaetz has violated federal laws against human trafficking.
If a 17-year-old woman has traveled across state borders at Gaetz’s expense, and he or others have had an affair with him or her, he or she may have violated such federal law.
The investigation is said to have started in the last few months of the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.
It is to be part of a larger investigation against a political ally of Gaetz in Florida, Joel Greenberg, who was charged with human trafficking and a number of other charges last summer. Greenberg denies criminal guilt.
The investigation is also reported by the AP, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, all of which cite unnamed sources.
Gaetz has previously profiled himself as a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump. Now, however, Trump is advised to keep a close eye on Gaetz.
“The former president should stay as far away from this issue as possible,” former Trump adviser Barry Bennett told The Daily Beast.
On Wednesday, March 31, Gaetz claimed that he and his family were victims of an organized blackmail attempt by a former US Department of Justice employee.
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.— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter...
– None of the accusations against me are true, and the people who promote these lies are themselves the subject of an ongoing investigation of this blackmail, he writes.
He further writes that both he and his family have cooperated with the FBI, and claims that the accusations against him are intended to put sticks in the wheels for the investigation of the alleged extortion attempt.
In an interview with conservative Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson the same day, Gaetz said that it was David McGee – a private lawyer who previously worked for the Department of Justice – who was behind the alleged blackmail attempt.
This in turn rejects McGee. In an interview with The Daily Beast, he describes the accusations as “completely and utterly false”.
Tucker Carlson himself described the session as “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever done”, according to Business Insider.
According to The Washington Post, a separate investigation is underway into the alleged blackmail attempt.
Gaetz himself has confirmed to Axios that he is under investigation – but did not specify the content of the investigation, other than that it is about sexual activity with a woman. He himself claims to have received little information about the investigation.
However, he categorically denies that he did anything illegal.
– The accusations against me are as hurtful as they are false, he said to the website.
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