Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is under investigation by the United States Department of Justice “over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
“Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences. It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people,” writes Michael Schmidt.
The probe – which also involves a Gaetz associate named Joel Greenberg – began in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency during William Barr’s tenure as attorney general. So far, no charges have been filed, and although Gaetz denies that he did anything wrong, his defense is creepy.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz, one of Trump’s loudest quislings, said of the investigation in an interview with the Times. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Meanwhile, Axios reported on Tuesday that Gaetz is considering retiring from Congress to join Newsmax, a right-wing television propaganda network, with the hope that exclusive media exposure could help propel him to higher office someday.
This is a developing story.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.