Culture

Rep. Matt Gaetz facing sex trafficking probe

Rep. Matt Gaetz facing sex trafficking probe”

Republican Matt Gaetz, a prominent conservative in the US Congress and a close ally of former US president Donald Trump, has revealed he is being investigated by the Justice Department over a former relationship with a teenage girl.

The investigation began in the final months of former President Donald Trump's administration under Attorney General William Barr and was part of an investigation into Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in northern Florida, who was indicted past year on charges of sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people, including one underage girl, in exchange for sex.

The Times story cited three unnamed sources familiar with the probe.

Gaetz told the Times that he believed he was the subject of an investigation - but not the target of an investigation. McGee apparently intimidated the congressman with "false" allegations in order to "squeeze" money out of him and his family.

"I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy", he reportedly said.

The Florida congressman told The Times, "I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward".

"And she was actually threatened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told that if she wouldn't cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay-for-play scheme, that she could face trouble", Gaetz said.

"I only know that it has to do with women".

Gaetz said he is "absolutely" sure none of the women he was entangled with were minors.

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"Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organised criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name", Gaetz said in a statement. Gaetz has separately insisted that his family is being extorted, a claim that is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets. of the ongoing extortion investigation.

Meanwhile, Gaetz raised eyebrows last summer after he announced that he had a son, Nestor Galban, 19, who is not his biological child, nor was he adopted. Gaetz has not been charged "and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear", according to the Times.

"He is a part of my family story", Gaetz told People in June. "And I'm just troubled the the lack of any sort of legitimate investigation into me would then permute, would then convert into this extortion attempt".

But Gaetz's fellow right-wing Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus, namely Reps.

Gaetz told Carlson that his family had been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the extortion attempt, and that his father had even worn a wire.

Elected in 2016, Gaetz rose to national prominence in recent years as one of Trump's most vocal defenders.

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The interview then took a sudden turn, with Gaetz - who was in the midst of arguing that this "era of politics" was dominated by smear campaigns to try to take people "out of the conversation" - brought up an accusation that had been made against Carlson years ago.



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