The 38-year-old man, who was once touted as a rising star in the Republican party, is being investigated by the Justice Department on allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl.
The DoJ is also investigating separate allegations that Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws and was involved in a scheme to recruit and pay women for sex.
The billboard in Crestview, a city in northeastern Florida, was paid for by Mad Dog PAC, which says on its website that it was founded for, ‘Fight Fascism. Stop Trump. ‘
He presents a black and white photo of the congressman in trouble with the impressive statement: ‘Matt Gaetz wants to’ date ‘his son.’
Gaetz backed down vehemently against the charges he faces, writing a column in the Washington Examiner on Monday that said, “The swamp is trying to drown me with false accusations, but I will not give up.”
Gaetz, a third-term deputy from Florida, has not been charged with any crime and has vehemently denied the various charges against him, including that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl as a ‘lie. ‘
The billboard in Crestview, a city in northeastern Flordia, was paid for by Mad Dog PAC, which says on its website that it was founded to ‘Fight Against Fascism. Stop Trump ‘
The sign shows a black and white photo of the congressman in trouble with the impressive statement: ‘Matt Gaetz wants to’ date ‘his son.’
Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando
But the disturbing array of allegations cast Gaetz’s political future in doubt, just as he was being seen as an increasingly powerful force in the Republican Party.
In the latest twist, The New York Times – which last week released the story that the DoJ was investigating Gaetz – reported on Wednesday that the congressman had sought general forgiveness from the White House in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency.
Trump liked Gaetz, a lawmaker who offered fierce loyalty to the president during his four-year term. But Gaetz’s forgiveness never came.
With the scandal growing, Trump himself weighed in on Wednesday.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz never asked for forgiveness,” said the 45th president. ‘It should also be remembered that he has completely denied the charges against him.’
Leading Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, acknowledged last week that the allegations were ‘serious’ and could lead to serious repercussions, but said he wanted to see more of the facts.
“If it is true, yes, we would remove it,” McCarthy told Fox News.
Gaetz vehemently backed away from the charges and tried to divert attention from the DOJ investigation, insisting that he and his family were victims of an extortion scheme.
He says two men, including former Air Force officer Robert Kent, approached Gaetz’s father for $ 25 million to finance the attempt to locate and release American Robert Levinson, who disappeared 14 years ago in Iran.
Kent acknowledged having sent a text message to Congressman’s father, Don Gaetz, a former Florida Senate president, saying he knew of an ‘indictment’ to be brought soon against his son, and that ‘I have a plan that can make your future legal and political problems disappear. ‘
Speaking to CNN, Kent said that mentioning Gaetz’s legal problems was only a ‘provocation’ and explained to his father ‘that it was not an extortion attempt’, but a legitimate offer to help rescue Levinson, while potentially showing Representative Gaetz under a positive light.
Levinson’s family said in 2020 that American officials told them that the former FBI agent had died while in Iranian custody.
Bold and combative, Gaetz took controversial steps in Congress, wearing a gas mask on the floor of the House last year during the vote on a coronavirus response package.
In 2019, he delayed the impeachment process against Trump when he led dozens of Republican lawmakers who exploded in witness testimony behind closed doors and refused to leave for several hours.
And in January Gaetz traveled to Wyoming to help raise opposition to senior Congresswoman Liz Cheney, one of 10 Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
Gaetz, a Republican congressman from Florida, is photographed with his fiancee Ginger Luckey
Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Gaetz “never” asked his forgiveness and offered a lukewarm defense of the combative Republican Florida
Obscene details of Gaetz’s behavior also emerged. According to CNN, Gaetz bragged about his sexual adventures to his fellow lawmakers, showing them nude pictures of women he claimed to have slept with.
Gaetz went on to write in the Examiner: ‘Washington’s cycles of scandals are predictable and sex is especially potent in politics. Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal. ‘
But the DOJ investigation – which was launched while Trump was still in office and not by Gaetz’s political opponents – could prevent the ambitious Republican from rising.
He focuses on Gaetz and his Florida colleague Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who was indicted last year on a federal child sex trafficking charge.
According to the Times, people close to the investigation said they believed Greenberg met women through websites and introduced them to Gaetz, who had sex with them.
The DOJ is also investigating whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old.
Meanwhile, most Republicans did not comment on the Gaetz scandal. He is scheduled to speak on Friday at a Trump-owned golf club in Miami, during the ‘Save America Summit’ sponsored by a pro-Trump girl group.
MailOnline contacted Gaetz’s office for comment.
GAETZ SAGA TIME LINE
MARCH 30TH: The New York Times reports that Gaetz is under investigation for a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Details are scarce, but the relationship would have taken place two years ago.
Gaetz went to Tucker Carlson’s program on FOX News that night to deny the allegations and claim that he was the victim of an extortion plot.
He names David McGee as a DoJ officer who is extorting him. McGee denies it.
MARCH 31: Gaetz’s father, Don, tells Politico that the extortion plan is real and that he was working with his son and the FBI to expose him
APRIL 1: Texts emerge to support Gaetz’s claim that he was being extorted and present a new element to the saga – that the extortion plan was part of a ruse to rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran.
WHO IS WHO
Rep Matt Gaetz
Gaetz, 38, is the representative of Florida’s first congressional district.
He is a Trump ally who has ties to Roger Stone and is known to stoke controversy in the past.
He was convicted of DUI, was accused of inciting violence on Twitter and claimed that facial recognition technology proved that some of the January 6 Capitol protesters were not Trump fans, but ‘antifa’ disguised as them.
Father of Gaetz, a well-liked state senator. He sold his company to its partners for $ 406 million in 2004.
They founded VITAS Healthcare in the 1980s. He was a senator for ten years from 2006 to 2016.
McGee was a prosecutor for the Justice Department, but now he is an attorney in private practice.
According to his biography on his law firm’s website, he spent six years as First Assistant in the United States Attorney’s Office and for seven years as Principal Lawyer for a United States Department of Justice Task Force against Organized Crime. .
Kent is an Air Force intelligence officer whose involvement in the alleged conspiracy was not revealed until Wednesday night through the texts.
Levinson spent 22 years working for the FBI before disappearing in Iran in 2007. The government claimed it knew nothing about it, but later admitted that he had worked there for the CIA.
The last time he was seen alive was in 2011, when he appeared in proof of life photos. His family says that this month, they had reason to believe that he was dead.