Details keep coming out to do with the DOJ investigation involving Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). On Thursday night, Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reported that “Justice Dept. Inquiry Into Matt Gaetz Said to Be Focused on Cash Paid to Women.” As Katie noted in her reporting from Tuesday night, the New York Times was the first to report that Rep. Gaetz was under investigation from the DOJ.
Thursday’s report noted:
A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times.
Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said.
Few Republicans are publicly defending Rep. Matt Gaetz in the wake of allegations that he is under investigation for sex trafficking.
Gaetz, 38, has denied the allegations, saying he and his father, Don Gaetz, who is a former member and leader of the Florida Senate, are victims of an extortion plot by a former Justice Department official. The documented evidence of his extortion claim published by the Washington Examiner is likely to bolster the lawmaker’s case that an extortion plot existed, which is separate from the explosive charges about having relations with a minor female that were reported by the New York Times on Tuesday.