Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is being investigated by authorities for allegedly having sexual relations with an underaged girl and being involved in child sex trafficking.
By Annika Henthorn
In the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, an investigation began into Matt Gaetz, a Representative from Florida, who has been accused of having sexual relations with a 17-year old girl and paying for her travel to him. According to The New York Times, it is against a multitude of federal statutes to coerce someone under the age of eighteen to cross state lines for sexual encounters in exchange for financial compensation. The New York Times has also stated that, if proven guilty, the Justice Department frequently delivers severe punishment for child sex trafficking, as they should.
Gaetz has denied the claims, stating in an interview with Axios that he has “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. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not." He also claimed his family was the victim of an extortion racket according to USA Today. He firmly believes he and his family are “victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” according to a tweet made by him. Representatives of the Department of Justice and the FBI have declined to comment.
Gaetz has joked with those close to him about resigning from politics and becoming a figure on conservative television channels like Newsmax or other networks, according to The New York Times. This was simply rumored gossip; however, Axios confirmed last Tuesday that Gaetz is considering resigning from Congress.
It is unknown how Gaetz came into contact with the girl, but she was believed to be seventeen at the time of the incident. Three people are allegedly briefed on the matter and have claimed Gaetz is simply a piece of a larger investigation into Joel Greenman, a political ally of his and a local official of Florida.
According to The New York Times, in June of 2020, Greenman was accused of stalking his political rival, and federal authorities were able to seize his phone and laptop. After further investigation, they found Greenman had been creating false identification cards for both him and a teenage girl. He was accused of recruiting and soliciting a girl between the ages of 14 and 17 for sexual acts in exchange for valuable goods that have remained unknown. Greenman pleaded not guilty last year and was jailed for disobeying the conditions of his bail. This summer, according to The New York Times, he is set to go on trial in Orlando.
Victoria Vidales '21,