Gaetz, under sex trafficking probe, reportedly showed nude photos to lawmakers
The congressman believes he is the target of a $25 million 'organized criminal extortion' plot
A day after Florida Republican Matt Gaetz confirmed that he is being investigated by the Justice Department over sex trafficking allegations, insiders claim he used to brag to colleagues about his sexual escapades. He even showed fellow lawmakers nude photos and videos stored on his cell phone of some of the women he had sex with.
“It was a point of pride,” one source said of Gaetz to CNN.
According to the report, it’s unclear if these pictures are connected to the DOJ investigation. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Justice Department began investigating Gaetz during the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency under former Attorney General William Barr. Investigators are examining Gaetz’s 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.
As theGRIO previously reported, 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 Times cited three insiders who were briefed on the probe.
Greenberg allegedly recruited multiple women online who he paid to have sex with him and Gaetz, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters, per The Times.
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.”
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.
“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 said in a statement.
“No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,” he added.
Meanwhile, amid the controversy over his sex life, a passage from Gaetz’s 2020 book has surfaced and is making the rounds online: “I arrived in DC as a single man after a couple of long-term relationships that didn’t work out. I knew going in how many people had been brought down by sexual missteps in this town, so I set some rules to help myself err on the safe(r) side.”
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!