PENSACOLA, Fla. — Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Niceville, is facing a Justice Department investigation over an allegeged sexual relationship with an underage girl, according to a report from the New York Times.
Investigators are working to determine if Gaetz violated sexual trafficking laws when he allegedly paid for the girl to travel with him across state lines, the paper added.
The encounters allegedly happened about two years ago. The investigation is said to have begun while William Barr was Attorney General and still in charge of the Justice Department.
The paper reported that Gaetz became part of the investigation during an examination of his friend, a former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg. Greenburg was charged last summer with sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz said in an interview with The Times. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
No charges have been brought in the case.
The Congressman responded on Twitter Tuesday afternoon saying:
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. The planted leak to the FBI 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.