Matt Gaetz under investigation for sexual alleged relationship with 17-year-old girl

'The allegations against me are as searing as they are false.'

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) is under investigation by the Justice Department over an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who he reportedly paid to travel with him across state lines, a violation of federal sex trafficking laws. 

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the probe is part of a broader investigation into Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector and Gaetz ally who was charged last year with 14 felony counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. The publication cited three insiders who were briefed on the probe. 

Gaetz confirmed to Axios that he is the subject, not the target, of “an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women.” He added, “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.”

Read More: Texans QB Deshaun Watson accused of sexual misconduct by three more women

The Florida congressman told The Times, “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”

He told Axios: “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.”

Gaetz said he is “absolutely” sure none of the women he was entangled with were minors. No charges have been brought against him. Per MSN, Gaetz believes he is being threatened in a $25 million “organized criminal extortion” plot.

In a statement on Tuesday, Gaetz said he is cooperating with the FBI and that his father “has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction.”

“No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Gaetz raised eyebrows last summer after he announced that he had a son, Nestor Galban, 19, who is not his biological child, nor was he adopted. The congressman met the teenager when he was 12-years-old and a new arrival to America from Cuba. According to reports, Gaetz was dating Galban’s sister at the time.

“He is a part of my family story,” Gaetz told People in June. “My work with Nestor, our family, no element of my public service could compare to the joy that our family has brought me.”

Nestor, he added, “is my son in every conceivable way, and I can’t imagine loving him any more if he was my own flesh and blood.” 

Read More: US Marshals find 39 missing children in Georgia during two-week sting, make nine sex trafficking arrests

“I just think that it’s been the greatest thing in my life that this young man has been a part of my family,” Gaetz said, “and going forward I look forward to being his biggest cheerleader,” he continued.

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In 2017, Gaetz was the only member of Congress to vote against increasing federal funds to fight human trafficking.

“Voters in Northwest Florida did not send me to Washington to go and create more federal government,” Gaetz said at the time. “If anything, we should be abolishing a lot of the agencies at the federal level.”

The Republican congressman is a staunch supporter and close friend of Donald Trump and believes the former president should run for office again in 2024. In December he told Politico that Trump “would have the support of the party.”

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