Feds investigate whether Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking when he ‘took trip to Bahamas with marijuana entrepreneur who hired escorts to join them’
- Federal investigators’ alleged interest in Matt Gaetz’ Bahamas trip was reported by CBS News on Wednesday
- Sources said Gaetz took the trip to the Bahamas with marijuana entrepreneur Dr Jason Pirozzolo in late 2018 or early 2019
- Pirozzolo paid for the travel expenses and female escorts, the sources said
- Investigators are allegedly looking into whether the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with Gaetz
A trip Matt Gaetz allegedly took to the Bahamas with a marijuana entrepreneur over two years ago is reportedly being scrutinized by federal officials investigating sex trafficking allegations against the Florida congressman.
CBS News reported the development on Wednesday, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the Justice Department’s investigation of Gaetz.
The sources said Gaetz took the trip to the Bahamas with Dr Jason Pirozzolo, a hand surgeon and co-founder of The American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, in late 2018 or early 2019.
Pirozzolo footed the bill for the travel expenses and accommodations – as well as female escorts, the sources said.
Investigators are allegedly looking into whether the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of having sex with Gaetz.
A trip Matt Gaetz (left) allegedly took to the Bahamas with a marijuana entrepreneur Jason Pirozzolo (right) over two years ago is reportedly being scrutinized by federal officials investigating sex trafficking allegations against the Florida congressman
‘Traveling across state lines is what creates a federal hook for a prosecution,’ Arlo Devlin-Brown, a former prosecutor and partner at Covington & Burling, told CBS.
‘It doesn’t matter that [Gaetz] personally paid them as long as he knows someone is doing that.’
Investigators are also working to determine whether Gaetz accepted the escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors, the sources said.
‘If there’s evidence of a quid pro quo that the congressman was provided with benefits in return for him sponsoring some legislation that’s of interest to the donor, that that’s a federal crime,’ Devlin-Brown said.
Pirozzolo spoke about his ties to Gaetz in a July 2018 Ganjapreneur podcast, where he said he was working with the congressman to draw up federal legislation to bolster medical research of cannabis.
‘Congressman Matt Gaetz is in the process of working on legislation up in Washington, DC, that will help facilitate research on the nationwide level. And we should see a lot of good benefit from them,’ Pirozzolo said.
The podcast came three months after Gaetz introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act in Congress. He introduced the bill again in January 2019, but both times it was not brought to a vote.
Reports of the investigators’ interest in the Bahamas trip came as Gaetz was already facing a string of lurid allegations, including claims he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, was involved in a Harry Potter-themed sex game, paid for sex using Apple Pay and showed Congressional colleagues on the House floor photos of naked women.
The Florida Republican has denied all allegations and gone on the offense, rapidly responding to the hits and appearing on conservative news networks to claim he’s the victim of a conspiracy.
He claims he was targeted in an extortion plot involving former Justice Department official David McGee, who was trying to extort $25million from his family to help rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran. McGee denied Gaetz’s charge.
As with the previous allegations, Gaetz’ office denied the claims in the CBS report about the Bahamas trip.
‘Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl,’ a spokesperson for the congressman said.
‘What began with blaring headlines about “sex trafficking” has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults.
‘Yesterday, we even learned of some nonsense “pardon” story that turned out to be false, and today it’s just more euphemism.
‘It’s interesting to watch the Washington wheels grinding so hard every time one of their falsehoods gets knocked down.’
This is a developing story.