Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has married his fiancee, and while we all recognize that’s the typical path, the accusations standing against him have led to some speculation — especially since his new sister-in-law has already spoken out to confirm that she’s seen creepy behavior from him.
Gaetz has been accused of being part of a lot of behaviors with questionable morality, and at least one that he could be legally culpable for, if he’s found guilty. Gaetz reportedly was part of a ring of legislators involved in a game where participants scored points for getting various female legislators to engage in sex acts with them, and of playing ‘sugar daddy,’ paying young college students’ tuition in exchange for sexual favors — but this only came out after the news that one of these young women was actually underaged.
Now his friend Joel Greenberg, with whom he allegedly engaged in these acts, is cooperating with investigators, and there’s a lot of speculation it could go badly for Gaetz.
Naturally, when he announced that he and Ginger Luckey had exchanged their vows and made it official, one thing popped into every mind: could Gaetz be trying to keep her off the witness stand?
Newlyweds? So you can’t be made to testify against him?
— BDBoop (@BDBoopster) August 22, 2021
Awkward. Future witness marries defendant. Just remember, spousal protection didn't help wives of crime families as much as they hoped. Good "Luck"…you're going to need it.
— #MOMTIFA🇺🇲❤ (@73MilitaryMama) August 22, 2021
They got married. That’s one way to keep her off the witness stand. Probably should’ve married Joel Greenberg though. pic.twitter.com/IO9a99dm1g
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 22, 2021
However, at least one attorney has weighed in to warn that if that’s Gaetz’ plan, it’s may not be a very effective one.
Dear Matt Gaetz:
The “spousal privilege” does not cover communications before the marriage. So, yes, Ginger can still be compelled to testify against you.
Have a great weekend and congrats!
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 22, 2021
Cornell Law School‘s assessment of spousal privilege supports this — emphasis added in quote below:
n order to invoke a spousal communications privilege, the party must establish that (a) at the time of the communication, the spouses were in a valid marriage; (b) the communications were intended to convey information between spouses, and neither spouse has disclosed the communication to a third party; and (c) the communications were intended to be confidential.
So, if the public speculation that Gaetz hoped to protect himself through marriage is true, then any information his bride learned about him before the marriage could still be on the table.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com