The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and paid for her to travel with him, according to a news report. A representative for Florida’s 1st Congressional District sine 2017, he has been a regular guest on right-wing news shows.
The Florida Republican and an ally of former President Donald Trump is being looked at as a part of a broader investigation into local Florida official Joel Greenberg, a political ally who was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a minor and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom wan an underage girl, according to a report by the New York Times. The report also said investigators are looking into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws in his encounters two years ago with a girl believed to have been 17 at the time.
Gaetz, 38, told the news outlet that his lawyers have been in contact with the Justice Department and were told he is a subject, and not a target of investigation. “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,” Gaetz wrote in a statement obtained by Newsweek on Tuesday.
“We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals. The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation,” he continued.
“No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations,” he concluded.
Gaetz got engaged to Ginger Luckey, sister to Oculus founder and Republican donor Palmer Luckey, in December.
This is an ongoing investigation and will be updated as warranted.