Politics: 1st District Representative Matt Gaetz Under Investigation for Alleged Sex Crimes

Raven Haengel, Photographer, Writer

On April 4th: 1st District Rep: Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice on allegations of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying the girl to travel with the RepresentativeGaetz is also being suspected of paying multiple women for sexual encounters at hotels and other locations. At said locations, it is said that the use of the illegal drug ecstasy was indicated, according to the Times. The paper reported receipts of Cash App and Apple Pay payments being sent to one woman from Gaetz and Joel Greenberga former Florida county tax collector and political affiliate of Gaetz who has been indicted on more than 30 federal charges, including child sex trafficking  

According to investigators, it is to be determined whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws. In certain circumstances, a variety of federal regulations make it illegal to persuade someone under the age of 18 to travel over state lines and to take part in a sexual exchange for money or something of substantial value. The Justice Department routinely prosecutes offenders in such cases and said offenders often receive more extreme punishments. It has not been determined how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, who was believed to be 17 at the time of the encounter. The event is said to have taken place about two years ago according to the investigatorevidence. The investigation opened in the last couple of months of Trump’s administration, which was under Attorney General William P. Barr’s supervision. In an interview with CNN, Gaetz said the statements were falseGaetz also claimed that they were derived from a plot to blackmail him and his family. Gaetz believed that the allegations were forced by people who are targets of an “ongoing extortion investigation.” “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been the victims of organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official pursuing $25 million while threatening to tarnish my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s expense to catch these criminals,” Gaetz claimed. “The planted leak in the New York Times tonight was intended to prevent that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of an ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicates their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations,” Gaetz added. The allegations against Gaetz persuaded one House Rep. Ted Lieu of California, to request Gaetz to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee, once the outcome of the reported investigation is brought to light. In response to house representatives wanting to remove Gaetz, Rep. Matt Gaetz said to WYFF 4 on Monday that he will not leave Congress and has continued to deny the accusations of him having sex with an underage girl, he continues to suggest that he is being targeted by political competitors because he “loathes the swamp.” He continued his statement by saying “First, I have never, ever paid for sex,” he wrote. “And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.” Gaetz former Military Advisor Nathan Nelson was recently questioned on his knowledge of the recent controversy and his reason for resigning, “I’m here this morning to state that nothing could be farther from the truth. Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities,”  

Recently Gaetz’s Communication Director Luke Ball abruptly resigned after the allegations were brought to light. Ball said to USA Today, he resigned “out of principle,”. A statement in response to Ball’s resignation by Gaetz’s office said that Gaetz and Ball “agreed that it would be best to part ways.” “We thank him for his time in our office, and we wish him the best moving forward,” said the statement. As information continues to be updated, Rep. Matt Gaetz privately sought to cover for a protective pardon for himself and his administrative allies during the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, sources with connections on the matter told ABC News. A spokesperson for Gaetz denied to ABC 7 News, that his pardon request was related to the Justice Department’s investigation. “Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him,” the spokesperson told ABC 7 News.