THE investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz was reportedly prompted by a bombshell text from a “Sugar Daddy” tax collector who made fake IDs.
Matt Gaetz is being investigated over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travel[/caption]
Sources said the examination of Gaetz is part of a boarder investigation into Joel Greenberg[/caption]
Gaetz told The Hill today he has no plans to step down and rumors of his resignation are “false” and it is “very safe” to say he does not intend to quit.
Sources said the investigation of Gaetz is part of a broader probe into Joel Greenberg – a political ally of Gaetz who has resigned from his role as a tax collector in Seminole County.
Greenberg pleaded not guilty last year but he was jailed this month for violating the terms of his bail.
Sources have now told The Daily Beast that investigators received a tip that Gaetz accompanied Greenberg on a peculiar nighttime visit to a government office – where the official was allegedly making fake IDs.
No charges have been brought against Gaetz in the sex-trafficking probe[/caption]
A timestamp on the text message thread, seen by The Daily Beast, shows the conversation took place on Monday, April 16, 2018.
“Did you happen to visit the Lake Mary Office on the weekend?” the text message read.
The Daily Beast obtained pictures of further text messages which suggest Greenberg was helping Gaetz get duplicate IDs.
When agents later started investigating Greenberg for identity theft and stalking, officers spoke to former employees at the tax office to find proof of the public official’s activities, according to reports.
And that’s when they were directed to Gaetz.
No charges have been brought against Gaetz in the sex-trafficking probe, and it was not reported how the representative met the girl, who is believed to have been 17 at the time of the encounter, around two years ago.
A former FBI director said the sex-trafficking probe into Gaetz is ‘extremely serious’[/caption]
According to the Times, a number of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under the age of 18 to travel across state lines in order to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value.
Former FBI director Andrew McCabe said the sex-trafficking probe is “extremely serious”.
He told CNN that Congress would not open such an intense and “substantial” investigation unless there was a “a significant degree of information”.
“It’s substantial and very serious,” he said, according to Newsweek.
“You know [after] 21 years of opening and overseeing, conducting investigations, I can tell you that nobody opens a sex trafficking investigation in which the subject is a sitting member of Congress without having a significant degree of information.”
Gaetz speaks during a House Judiciary Committee[/caption]
In a statement released on Twitter, Gaetz said: “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear 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 direction to catch these criminals.
“The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation.
“I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
‘BRIEFED MULTIPLE TIMES’
Following the Times report, Gaetz said in a phone interview with Axios: “The allegations against me are as searing as they are false. 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.”
Asked what the charges could relate to, Gaetz said: “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated.
“You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”
He also proposed to his girlfriend, Ginger Luckey, at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on December 30.
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At the time, Gaetz was dating Galban’s sister.