Rep. Matt Gaetz’s father has backed up his claim that he was extorted over claims he slept with a 17-year-old and says he wore a wire to try help his son expose it.
Yesterday it emerged that Gaetz is under investigation by the Department of Justice over claims that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid her to travel with him.
The New York Times first reported it, citing three unnamed sources who said the alleged relationship happened two years ago.
Gaetz responded, denying all of the allegations, and claiming a Justice Department official – David McGee – was trying to extort him over it. McGee angrily denied his claim.
On Wednesday, Politico reported that not only was the sex trafficking investigation underway, but that Bill Barr, the AG at the time, knew about it and had no objection to it.
It also cited Gaetz’s father, former Senator Don Gaetz, who said Matt was being extorted and that he was working with the FBI to help Matt expose it.
Rep. Matt Gaetz has claimed he is the victim of a $25 million extortion plot by a former Justice Department employee after it was revealed he is under investigation for sex trafficking over allegations he had a sexual relationship with a girl, 17, and paid to have her travel with him
Attorney David McGee insisted he was not part of a plan to extort Gaetz, nor was he connected to the DOJ’s sex trafficking probe
‘The FBI asked me to try and get that information for Matt and an indication we would transfer money to Mr. David McGee,’ he said. McGee told The Washington Post he was not part of a plan to extort Gaetz nor was he connected to the DOJ’s sex trafficking probe.
Rep. Gaetz had on Tuesday claimed he is the victim of a $25 million extortion plot after it was revealed he is under investigation for sex trafficking over allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl, 17, and paid to have her travel with him.
The Republican congressman and close ally of Donald Trump accused McGee live on Tucker Carlson of trying to extort millions of dollars out of him and his family in exchange for ‘making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away.’
Gaetz claimed he had been working with the FBI and his father Don Gaetz had been wearing a wire to expose the alleged scheme after learning of it earlier this month.
TUCKER CARLSON MAY HAVE MADE HIMSELF A WITNESS WITH HIS GAETZ INTERVIEW
Tucker Carlson may have made himself a witness in the DoJ investigation into sex trafficking that Gaetz is a part of by interviewing him about it on his FOX News show.
Florida State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg appeared on Morning Joe on Wednesday morning to talk about thew Gaetz saga.
He said: ‘He may have made Tucker Carlson a witness because on his show, he said “Hey, you remember the woman I was with. She was overage.”
Tucker replied to Gaetz that he didn’t remember the woman or any of what he was talking about.
But McGee, an attorney at Beggs & Lane law firm and the former lead attorney for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Task Force, said: ‘It is completely false. It’s a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking of minors.
‘I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors.’
The attorney said Gaetz’s father had ‘called me and asked to talk to me’ and said he would welcome a tape of their conversation being made public. He did not detail what the conversation was about but insisted it was nothing ‘untoward’ but simply ‘a pleasant conversation of a dad concerned about his son and the trouble his son was in’.
He added: ‘If there is a tape, play the tape. There is nothing on that tape that is untoward.’
Florida lawmaker Gaetz made the bombshell allegations on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tuesday night, hours after the New York Times revealed the DOJ had launched a probe to investigate whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws.
Three sources told the Times an investigation was launched into his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl during Trump’s final months in office under then-Attorney General Bill Barr.
The inquiry is said to be part of a wider probe into Florida official Joel Greenberg, who was slapped with a string of charges last year including sex trafficking a minor between the age of 14 and 17. No charges have been filed against Gaetz.
Gaetz claimed Tuesday night the sex trafficking allegations against him were ‘verifiably false’ but said he and his family were victims of an extortion effort by McGee to make the allegations and the DOJ investigation ‘go away.’
A separate probe was launched by the FBI into the extortion plot, he said. Gaetz claimed the Times report had then foiled a plan to transfer a bribe of $4.5 million to McGee Wednesday which would have then exposed the alleged plot.
However Times’ reporter Katie Benner told MSNBC it is the congressman who has in fact ‘blown up’ the alleged extortion investigation in an effort to divert attention away from the fact the sex trafficking concerns were serious enough for the Trump administration to launch an investigation – even though Gaetz is a close ally of the president.
Gaetz, 38, is close to Trump and got engaged to food analyst Ginger Luckey, 26, at his Mar-a-Lago club in late December.
The FBI declined to comment Tuesday night while the DOJ did not return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Reports of the two investigations came just hours after it was revealed Gaetz is considering retiring from Congress and taking a job at right-wing news outlet Newsmax.
Gaetz’s alleged encounters with the 17-year-old girl took place around two years ago with the DOJ investigation focusing on whether the lawmaker paid for her to cross state lines, the Times reported.
Under federal law, it is a crime to transport someone under the age of 18 across state lines, or coerce them to travel across state lines, to engage in sex in exchange for money.
It is not clear when or how Gaetz allegedly met the teenager.
Gaetz, who was the only member of Congress to vote against a largely bipartisan human trafficking bill back in 2017, insisted the allegations are false.
‘It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie,’ he told Carlson.
‘The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case.’
When asked about his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, Gaetz said such a person ‘doesn’t exist’.
‘The person doesn’t exist. I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false,’ he said.
Times’ reporter Katie Benner told MSNBC McGee is not involved in the DOJ probe and said it is the congressman who has ‘blown up’ the alleged extortion investigation in an apparent effort to divert attention away from the sex trafficking probe
Gaetz accused David McGee, an attorney at Beggs & Lane law firm and the former lead attorney for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Task Force, of trying to extort millions from him and his family in exchange for making sex trafficking allegations ‘go away’ on Fox News Tuesday
Tucker Carlson says Gaetz interview was his ‘weirdest ever’
Gaetz claimed he is the victim of a $25million extortion plot after the New York Times revealed he is under investigation for sex trafficking over allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl, 17, and paid to have her travel with him. During the interview Gaetz denied all of the allegations against him.
‘It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie,’ he told Carlson. ‘The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case.’
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was stunned by Rep Matt Gaetz’s appearance on his show Tuesday night
When asked about the alleged sexual relationship with the teen, Gaetz said such a person ‘doesn’t exist’.
However, Gaetz recalled a dinner with Carlson, his wife and ‘a friend of mine’ who he said has since been ‘threatened’ by authorities to ‘cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme’.
‘I can say that actually you and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there and I brought a friend of mine, you will remember her,’ he said. ‘And she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn’t cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme that she could face trouble and so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me.’
In response to that claim, Carlson says: ‘I don’t remember the women you’re speaking of or the context at all honestly.’
Following the segment, Carlson told his viewers: ‘You just saw our Matt Gaetz interview. That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.’
‘That story just appeared in the news a couple of hours ago, and on the certainty that there’s always more than you read in the newspaper, we immediately called Matt Gaetz and asked him to come on and tell us more. Which, as you saw, he did. I don’t think that clarified much, but it certainly showed this is a deeply interesting story and we’ll be following it,’ Carlson added.
However, Gaetz recalled a dinner with Carlson, his wife and ‘a friend of mine’ who he said has since been ‘threatened’ by authorities to ‘cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme.’
‘I can say that actually you and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there and I brought a friend of mine, you will remember her,’ he said.
‘And she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn’t cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme that she could face trouble and so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me.’
Instead, Gaetz claimed he and his family have fallen foul to a plot to extort money.
The congressman told Carlson the alleged scheme came to light on March 16 when he claims his father got a text message ‘demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away’.
Gaetz’s father is Don Gaetz, former member of the Florida State Senate from 2006 to 2016 and Senate President from 2012 to 2014. Don has not publicly commented on the apparent extortion plot.
Gaetz claimed his family were told about ‘pictures of me with child prostitutes’ which he insisted are ‘obviously false’.
Gaetz named McGee on air on the Fox News show, accusing the lawyer of being behind the extortion plot.
‘His name is David Mcgee. He was a top official in the leadership in the northern district of Florida as a prosecutor,’ he said. ‘He currently works at the Beggs & Lane law firm.’
He claimed: ‘There was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he could make this investigation go away along with his co-conspirators.’
Gaetz said he contacted the FBI and the DOJ and has been working with them to expose the plot.
‘Our family was so troubled by that, we went to the local FBI and the FBI and the Department of Justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did with the former department of justice official,’ he claimed.
Gaetz claimed that, prior to the Times’ report of the sex trafficking inquiry, his family and federal authorities had made a plan to send $4.5 million as a down payment to McGee.
He claimed this plan ‘would have shown even more evidence of David McGee’s work in this extortion scheme’ but that it was ‘foiled’ by the Times’ report.
‘What was supposed to happen was the transfer of this money that would have implicated the former colleague of these current DOJ officials.
‘But that’s obviously not going to happen tomorrow because the New York Times story was leaked in order to quell that investigative effort,’ he claimed.
Gaetz called on the FBI to release the tapes of his family’s alleged encounters with the extorter in order to prove his ‘innocence.’
‘If the FBI and department of justice will release the tapes that they are in possession of, the American people will see what is really going on,’ he said.
New York Times’ Justice Department Reporter Katie Benner hit back at Gaetz’s claims telling MSNBC that McGee is not involved in the DOJ’s sex trafficking probe as he works in private practice.
‘No that person is not involved in the investigations. That person is currently in private practice and does not work at the Justice Department,’ she said.
Benner questioned Gaetz’s motive for speaking out about the alleged extortion plot in a move that she said has ‘destroyed and blown up’ the FBI investigation into it.
Gaetz was first to publicly expose the FBI probe into the alleged extortion plot, with no mention made in the Times’ initial report.
The Republican congressman and close ally of Donald Trump fired out a series of tweets Tuesday claiming a former Justice Department employee had been trying to extort $25 million from him and his family while ‘threatening to smear my name’
Benner said she believes Gaetz was speaking out to deflect from the fact that the sex trafficking probe was ‘serious enough’ to be launched by Trump’s DOJ.
‘Keep in mind this is an investigation that if you look at the timeline was very serious and was taken seriously by Trump administration officials in the Justice Department,’ she said.
‘I think that one of the reasons why he has talked publicly about this extortion plot, one of the reasons why he has publicly said that the FBI has asked his own father to wear a wire is in order to try to get people to not pay attention to the fact that it was in fact the Trump admin that felt it was worthy to investigation him.’
She hit back at his claim that the Times’ report had ‘foiled’ the FBI plot.
‘In publicly talking about the extortion plot that he has described and publicly saying that his father wore a wire he has basically destroyed and blown up an FBI investigation which is in itself something you would think would be against his own interests,’ she said.
‘You would think he wold be wanting to work with the FBI and would think he would be wanting to keep this quiet… in doing this and basically blowing up an FBI investigation into people trying to extort his family he has both complicated that investigation and also cast aspersions on something that was serious enough that Attorney General Bill Barr proved it.’
Gaetz went on the defense as soon as the Times story broke Tuesday evening, going on a tweet storm describing the alleged extortion plot and slamming the allegations as ‘lies’.
‘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,’ he tweeted.
The congressman said he and his family had been working with the FBI on the plot to extort money from his family.
‘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.’
Gaetz denied the accusations against him after the New York Times revealed Tuesday that the DOJ had launched a probe to investigate whether he had violated federal sex trafficking laws. Pictured Trump and Gaetz
Gaetz and his father Don Gaetz. Don served as a member of the Florida State Senate from 2006 to 2016
Gaetz called on the Justice Department to release tapes he said shows the alleged scheme by an ex-DOJ employee.
‘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,’ he tweeted.
Gaetz went into damage control mode after news of the inquiry surfaced.
He told the Times his attorneys had been told by the DOJ that he was the subject and not the target of the probe.
‘I only know that it has to do with women,’ he said. ‘I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.’
The congressman confirmed the DOJ probe in an interview with Axios and doubled down that the allegations are ‘false’ and ‘unclear’ as he blamed the apparent extortion plot.
‘The allegations of sexual misconduct against me are false,’ he said. ‘They are rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million… in exchange for making this case go away.’
Axios reported that it had seen screenshots of text messages, emails and documents from Gaetz purporting to show the alleged scheme.
‘I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy,’ he said.
The 38-year-old said while he often ‘provided for’ women he was dating when he was single, such as paying for flights and hotel rooms, he was ‘absolutely’ confident none of the women were underage.
‘I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner,’ he said.
‘I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.’
Sources told the Times that senior Justice Department officials, including some Trump appointees, were aware of the investigation due to its nature and the congressman’s profile.
The inquiry is said to be part of a wider probe into Florida official Joel Greenberg (pictured) who was slapped with a string of charges last year including sex trafficking of a minor between the age of 14 and 17
Gaetz shared this image on Facebook in July 2017 of himself with Greenberg and Roger Stone
They said it is part of a larger probe into Greenberg, a former tax collector of Seminole County, Orlando, accused of paying for sex with an underage girl and illegally using Florida’s DMV database to look up information on her and other women with whom he was engaged in ‘sugar daddy’ relationships with.
Greenberg was indicted last summer on 14 felony charges including child sex trafficking, fraud, identity theft and stalking a former political rival.
The sex trafficking charge involves alleged encounters with a girl aged between 14 and 17 across a six-month period in 2017.
He was also accused of violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by using his access as an elected official to illegally look up information about the minor in The Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID).
He reportedly looked up the girl’s photo, driver identification number, in addition to other information.
Prosecutors say he also used the database to look up other people, with whom he was embroiled in ‘sugar daddy relationships’ with.
Greenberg had first been indicted by a federal grand jury in June on charges that he stalked political opponent Brian Beute in the Republican primary for the Tax Collector’s race and for identity theft.
Greenberg resigned the following day and the additional charges were added in August.
Gaetz, 38, and his fiancée Ginger Luckey, 26, in a photo shared on Twitter by Gaetz on December 10 under a photograph of Ronald Reagan
Gaetz is a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago and even proposed to his now-fiancée Luckey there in December. Pictured the couple when they got engaged
He was arrested earlier this month for violating the terms of his bond after he allegedly traveled to Jupiter and was involved in some type of police incident there.
The extent of Gaetz’s relationship with Greenberg is unclear but the ex-tax collector shared a photo on Twitter of the two men together at the White House in 2019.
The year before, Gaetz backed Greenberg’s successful bid for local office.
And back in July 2017, Gaetz shared a photo on his Facebook of himself with Greenberg and Roger Stone – Trump’s aide who was convicted of lying to Congress before being pardoned by the former president.
News of the sex-trafficking inquiry came the same day reports surfaced that Gaetz is mulling quitting politics altogether for a career as a media personality.
Gaetz has told friends he is considering not seeking re-election in 2022 and may even leave Congress before the end of his term for a job at conservative outlet Newsmax, according to Axios.
The congressman lost much of his personal power in DC when Trump, a close ally, lost the White House and Republicans failed to take back control of the House of Representatives.
Newsmax, meanwhile, has become a favored outlet for conservatives after Trump started criticizing Fox News, leaving an opening for it and competitor One American News.
Gaetz is already a frequent guest on the network, which recently hired former White House staffer Andrew Guiliani, the son of Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller.
News of the sex-trafficking inquiry came the same day it emerged Gaetz is considering leaving Congress before the end of his term for a job at conservative outlet Newsmax
He has previously called for harsher criminal penalties for child sex offenders, with a 2014 Facebook post pushing for minimum 50-year mandatory minimum sentences for violent predators
Gaetz is a staunch Trump ally and defended the former president during both impeachment trials.
He also pushed the false claims that the MAGA mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in a riot that left five dead were from Antifa. Investigations have proven they were not.
Gaetz also made a name for himself when he became the only House lawmaker to vote against a bill to provide greater funds to fight human trafficking.
The legislation – the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act – gave the federal government more money to tackle human trafficking.
It was backed by both Republicans and Democrats and sailed through the House and Senate.
‘Unless there is an overwhelming, compelling reason that our existing agencies in the federal government can’t handle that problem, I vote no because voters in Northwest Florida did not send me to Washington to go and create more federal government,’ he said at the time.
He also hit headlines for wearing a gas mask on the House floor during the COVID pandemic and criticizing Democrats for banning guns in Congress.
He has previously called for harsher criminal penalties for child sex offenders, with a 2014 Facebook post pushing for minimum 50-year mandatory minimum sentences for violent predators.
Outside of DC, Gaetz is a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago and even proposed to his now-fiancée Luckey there in December.
The couple met at an event at the club sometime earlier in 2020.
Luckey works for a company called Apeel, that says it ‘works with nature to reduce food waste and create abundance for all.’