A former Capitol Hill staffer who dated Rep. Matt Gaetz plans on cooperating with a federal investigation into whether the embattled Florida Republican had sex with a 17-year-old and paid women for sex, CNN reported Friday, just days after a Gaetz associate pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking and signaled he’s also willing to cooperate with prosecutors.
The ex-girlfriend has known Gaetz for almost four years, making her a potentially useful source of information, according to CNN, which cited unnamed sources.
The ex-girlfriend joined Gaetz and other women on a 2018 trip to the Bahamas that federal prosecutors are focusing on, CNN and Politico have previously reported.
Earlier this week, Joel Greenberg — a former Florida county tax collector and friend of Gaetz’ — took a plea deal on sex trafficking and other charges, agreeing to offer the Department of Justice “substantial assistance” in other ongoing investigations.
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime or formally accused of one, and he’s consistently denied that he had a sexual relationship with a minor or paid for sex.
The DOJ and Gaetz’ office did not respond to requests for comment.
In March, the New York Times reported prosecutors are looking into whether Gaetz paid to transport a 17-year-old girl with whom he had a sexual relationship, a possible violation of federal child sex trafficking laws. The DOJ is also reportedly probing whether Gaetz and Greenberg sent cash and other gifts to women in exchange for sex. And investigators are said to be looking into whether escorts who attended Gaetz’ trip to the Bahamas were illegally transported for the purposes of sex, and whether a Florida medical marijuana entrepreneur used the trip to try to illegally influence Gaetz’ stance on drug policy. Gaetz has fervently denied the allegations against him.
Gaetz has also been accused of acting inappropriately at work, reportedly showing photos of nude women to other lawmakers.
Gaetz has suggested the accusations are the work of dishonest reporters, corrupt prosecutors and unspecified political enemies. When the Times first revealed Gaetz was under federal investigation, he insisted a former DOJ official was using the probe to secure a seven-figure extortion payment from him and his well-heeled father.
Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend to cooperate with federal authorities in sex trafficking investigation (CNN)
Gaetz’s Friend Just Pleaded Guilty To Sex Trafficking—Here’s Why It Could Be Bad News For The Florida Congressman (Forbes)