Sunday, September 26

Matt Gaetz: A congressman ally of Trump, investigated for a possible sex crime | International


Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz at a Women for American First event Friday in Doral, Florida.
Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz at a Women for American First event Friday in Doral, Florida.Marta Lavandier / AP

Allegations of alleged sexual misconduct and sex trafficking against Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, 38, have rocked Washington. Donald Trump’s loyal ally has charged on Twitter over the weekend against Democrats and the Deep State for wanting to “neutralize” him through the culture of cancellation. The House Ethics Committee began investigations on Friday of the Florida representative, who is already being investigated by the Department of Justice on whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, if he had sexual relations with a 17-year-old adolescent and whether he paid or offered gifts in exchange for sex to other women. Gaetz has not been formally charged with any crime and denies the allegations.

According to anonymous sources cited by The New York TimesThe first outlet to publicize the federal investigation, prosecutors believe Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector charged last year with sex trafficking and other crimes, introduced women to Gaetz, who had sex with them. The FBI has questioned several women involved in the alleged encounters. The New York Times had access to the invoices of the mobile payments application Cash App and Apple Pay, where there are payments from Gaetz and Greenberg to one of the women. The women involved told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to sources quoted by the US newspaper.

“My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal,” the Republican wrote in a column in the Washington Examiner. The congressman, who has been engaged to be married since last New Year’s Eve, also maintained that he has “never” paid for sex. Local media reports that Greenberg is in talks to reach a plea deal with the Florida court. That pact could involve Greenberg cooperating in the investigation against Gaetz.

The congressional bipartisan ethics committee on Friday listed all the allegations they had received to launch their own investigation against Gaetz: possible sexual misconduct, use of illicit drugs, sharing inappropriate images or videos in the House of Representatives, misusing identification records. use of campaign funds for personal use and accept bribes or gifts. All this, “in violation of House rules, laws or other standards of conduct” previously established, according to committee chairman and Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutsch and Indiana Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.

The congressman, who pleads not guilty and insists he is not leaving office, hired lawyers for Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner. Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor in New York, has represented former President Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, in tax investigations, and Kirshner represented former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after be accused of physically assaulting women.

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