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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz Under Investigation For Alleged Sexual Relationship With 17-Year-Old That May Have Violated Federal Sex Trafficking Laws: Report

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Source: MEGA

May. 1 2021, Updated 11:58 a.m. ET

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Rep. Matt Gaetz has found himself in some hot water. 

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The Republican congressman is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for a sexual relationship he allegedly had with a 17-year-old girl, which may have violated federal laws against sex trafficking in the process.

According to the New York Times, the investigation began in the final months of the Trump administration under then-Attorney General William Barr. The agency is now looking into whether the 38-year-old, a close ally of the former president, violated federal laws by paying for the young woman to travel with him outside of Florida. 

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The inquiry is part of a larger probe into Joel Greenberg, a tax collector in Florida associated with Gaetz who was charged last year with 14 felony counts related to allegations that he stalked a political opponent, used a state database to create fake IDs, and sex trafficked a minor between the ages of 14 and 17.

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To be clear, Gaetz has yet to be charged with a crime. 

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Source: MEGA

The Florida congressman said that he and his lawyers were aware of "an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women" but did not believe he was the target.

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"I only know that it has to do with women," Gaetz told the Times. "I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward."

"I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated," he told Axios. "You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I've been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not."

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The Republican has served as the U.S. representative for Florida's 1st congressional district since 2017 and was notably the lone "No" vote on the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, a bill to fight human trafficking and sex slave trade.

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Source: MEGA

On Tuesday March 30, he took to Twitter to defend himself further.

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"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. "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," he continued. "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."

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Source: Matt Gaetz/Twitter
Source: Matt Gaetz/Twitter
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Source: Matt Gaetz/Twitter

Gaetz has come under fire over the years for his aggressive demeanor towards his colleagues and his far-right political ideals, including his staunch opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and his belief that the open carry of weapons was a right "granted not by government but by God."

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