Matt Gaetz under investigation for potential obstruction of justice in sex probe
Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, listens during a markup on H.R. 7120, the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” on June 17, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
Erin Scott | Getty Images
The witness is allegedly connected to Gaetz and his friend Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector in Florida who last month pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl, a law enforcement source told NBC.
Later Thursday, a federal judge in Florida scheduled Greenberg’s sentencing hearing for Aug. 19 in Orlando. As part of the plea deal, Greenberg agreed to cooperate and give “substantial assistance” to authorities in any investigation.
Greenberg’s case reportedly led prosecutors to look into Gaetz, who denied all allegations of wrongdoing against him when The New York Times first reported in late March that the Department of Justice was examining whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travels with him.
“Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it,” a Gaetz spokesperson told NBC in a statement Thursday.
“The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official,” the spokesperson said, referring to Gaetz’s claim that the sex trafficking probe is linked to an “organized criminal extortion” scheme against him and his family.
“After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the ‘story’ is changing yet again,” Gaetz’s spokesperson said. “Rep. Gaetz’s legal team continues to investigate the attempted extortion of a sitting U.S. Congressman and anyone who may be connected to it.”
The reported obstruction inquiry into Gaetz stems from a phone call between the witness and the congressman’s ex-girlfriend, according to Politico, which first reported the probe.
At one point in the conversation, the ex-girlfriend dialed Gaetz into the call, Politico reported, citing sources familiar with the case. It is unknown what was said on the call, Politico reported.
Gaetz, 39, is one of the most visible Republicans in the House, as well as one of the chamber’s loudest supporters of former President Donald Trump. Gaetz has recently told news outlets he would consider running for president if Trump doesn’t follow through on his heavily teased 2024 campaign.
The House Ethics Committee in April said it launched an investigation into Gaetz.