Inquiry into Rep. Matt Gaetz linked to larger investigation into former Florida official, and Gaetz ally, indicted on child sex trafficking charges, report says

cpac matt gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice, according to the New York Times.
  • The investigation is looking into whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws, The Times reports.
  • The inquiry is linked to a sex trafficking investigation into Joel Greenberg, according to the Times.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

On Tuesday, an explosive report from The New York Times revealed that Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is under federal investigation for potentially violating federal sex trafficking laws.

The Times writes, citing three sources, that the Department of Justice is looking into "whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him." The investigation was opened by the Department of Justice in the final months of former President Donald Trump's administration, according to The Times.

The investigation into Gaetz stems from a broader investigation into former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, one of Gaetz's political allies in Florida, the sources told The Times.

The New York Times report added that several top Justice Department officials were briefed on the Gaetz investigation during the last months of the Trump presidency. Gaetz has not faced any charges in the investigation.

After the news broke, Gaetz initially responded on Twitter, lobbing a series of accusations towards federal authorities, and denying any wrongdoing.

In a statement sent to Insider, Gaetz's office 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," Gaetz added, confirming the investigation.

"The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion 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," Gaetz said in the statement.

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