Leading Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship

Leading Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship

The report by the Times, however, said that federal investigators are looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and broke federal sex trafficking laws.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has confirmed he is being investigated by the Justice Department, but denied the allegations tied to the inquiry.

"The planted leak to the FBI tonight was meant to thwart that investigation", Gaetz said.

This isn't the first time Gaetz has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The Republican congressman is a controversial figure. "I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not".

Sources told the Times that the investigation was opened by Attorney General William Barr during the final months of the Trump administration and that the examination of Gaetz is part of "a broader investigation into a political ally of his, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a child".

Gaetz alleged that he was the victim of an "organized criminal extortion scheme" in a series of Tuesday tweets and in a subsequent Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Gaetz said he has provided financially for former sexual partners but said he was "absolutely" confident none of them were underage. "And so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me".

The interview then took a sudden turn, with Gaetz - who was in the midst of arguing that this "era of politics" was dominated by smear campaigns to try to take people "out of the conversation" - brought up an accusation that had been made against Carlson years ago.

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At one point, in what appeared to be an effort to get Carlson to relate to his circumstances, the lawmaker mentioned that the Fox News host had been falsely accused of rape years ago.

"No part of the allegations against me are true and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation", he wrote.

Gaetz told the newspaper in an interview that his lawyers had been in contact with the Justice Department.

Asked what the charges might relate to, Gaetz said: "I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated".

The sources said the Gaetz investigation was connected to the investigation of Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida who was indicted previous year on charges including sex trafficking of a child.

"I don't remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly", Carlson cut in to say, visibly stunned.

Gaetz has not been charged with a crime.

The Department of Justice declined to comment, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Florida did not respond to a request for comment. You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms.

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