- GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed a federal probe into whether he broke sex trafficking laws is part of an “extortion” scheme against him.
- “No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets … of the ongoing extortion investigation,” he tweeted.
- Gaetz’s tweets came after NYT reported that investigators are looking into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
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Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida claimed on Tuesday that an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws is part of an “organized criminal extortion” scheme against his family.
The New York Times first reported on the investigation, and Gaetz confirmed its existence to The Times and the news website Axios.
According to the reports, investigators are said to be examining whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him, which would violate sex trafficking statutes.
The Republican lawmaker said on Twitter that the investigation was launched on a false premise and based on “lies” being pushed against him by a former Justice Department official.
“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,” Gaetz tweeted. “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.”
Gaetz continued: “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.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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