Beleaguered Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reportedly sought a blanket pre-emptive pardon from the White House during the final weeks of Donald Trump’s administration, a revelation that comes as Gaetz finds himself the subject of a federal sex-trafficking investigation.
Gaetz asked for a pardon for him and unidentified congressional allies, two people familiar with the discussion told The New York Times. The conversation came at roughly the same time that Gaetz publicly called for Trump to pardon GOP allies and as the Justice Department investigated the Florida Republican over an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws. Gaetz has been famously devoted to Trump, despite being misidentified by him as “Rick Gates” at one appearance late in the 2020 campaign cycle.Aides told Trump about the request, but it’s unknown if Gaetz reached out to Trump personally.
A pardon requires that one outline the crimes that they were guilty of. In plainer speak, a pardon is an admission of guilt. It’s not clear if Gaetz is aware of this fact, but what is clear is that he was definitely worried about getting into legal trouble for something he did.
Matt Gaetz wanted a blanket, pre-emptive pardon.
William & Mary School of Law should take back his Law Degree.
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) April 7, 2021
“It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent,” the Times said, quoting the people familiar with the situation.
Now why would Matt Gaetz beg the White House for a blanket pardon if he's innocent? 🤔
— Hamish Mitchell (@H_MitchellPhoto) April 7, 2021
Aside from Gaetz allegedly paying for the teenage girl to travel, the Department of Justice is also probing whether Gaetz paid multiple women for sex on various visits to Florida alongside his close ally Joel Greenberg, the now-indicted former Seminole County tax collector. Gaetz has denied the allegations.
Matt Gaetz asked the Trump White House for a pre-emptive pardon.🤔 Now why would he have wanted that? Oh yeah, because he was trafficking minors, giving them fake IDs and drugs, and paying for sex using 🍎 pay. What a fucking waste of air!
— Amy Lynn👣❤ (@AmyAThatcher) April 7, 2021
Gaetz has maintained that the investigation into his relationships and travel is part of a plot to extort tens of millions from himself and his father, former Florida state senator Don Gaetz, whose net worth reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars.