An investigation has been launched into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him, three people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.
The Justice Department launched the investigation in final months of the Trump administration, the Times reports, and investigators are looking into whether Gaetz, 38, violated federal sex trafficking laws. The encounters between Gaetz and the minor took place about two years ago, two people familiar with the matter told the Times. Gaetz is one of former President Donald Trump's most ardent supporters, and senior Justice Department officials, including some appointed by Trump, were notified about the investigation, the Times reports.
Three people familiar with the matter told the Times that this inquiry is part of a broader investigation into Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Florida's Seminole County and one of Gaetz's political allies. Last summer, Greenberg was indicted on charges of sex trafficking a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin in June.
Gaetz told the Times that his lawyers were informed he is the subject, not target, of a Justice Department investigation, and "I only know that it has to do with women. I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward." Earlier Tuesday, Axios reported that Gaetz has been talking about possibly leaving Congress before his term is up in order to become a "media personality" on the conservative Newsmax network.