As part of their inquiry into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and whether he violated sex trafficking laws, federal investigators are closely examining a trip the congressman allegedly took to the Bahamas in late 2018 or early 2019, several people with knowledge of the matter told CBS News.
Gaetz's travel companion was Jason Pirozzolo, a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon, CBS News reports. Pirozzolo allegedly covered all of the travel and accommodation costs, and also paid for female escorts. Investigators are trying to determine if the women were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex and whether Gaetz accepted paid escorts in exchange for political favors or access, CBS News says.
Pirozzolo donated $1,000 to Gaetz in March 2016 and again in 2017, Federal Election Commission records show. In 2018, Pirozzolo told a podcast on marijuana entrepreneurship that Gaetz was working on legislation to "facilitate research" on the medical effects of cannabis. Gaetz later twice introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act, but there was never a vote.
Pirozzolo did not respond to CBS News' requests for comment, while Gaetz's spokesperson told the network in a statement that Gaetz "never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl. What began with blaring headlines about 'sex trafficking' has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults."