The Florida Republican stated in an announcement to CNN that “no a part of the allegations in opposition to me are true” and that the claims had been being pushed by people who find themselves targets of an “ongoing extortion investigation.”
“Over the previous a number of weeks my household and I’ve been victims of an organized prison extortion involving a former DOJ official looking for $25 million whereas threatening to smear my title. We’ve been cooperating with federal authorities on this matter and my father has even been carrying a wire on the FBI’s path to catch these criminals,” Gaetz claimed.
“The planted leak to the New York Occasions tonight was supposed to thwart that investigation. No a part of the allegations in opposition to me are true, and the individuals pushing these lies are targets of the continuing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ instantly launch the tapes, made at their path, which implicate their former colleague in crimes in opposition to me based mostly on false allegations,” Gaetz added.
In an interview on Fox Information, Gaetz strongly denied the accusations and accused a former Division of Justice prosecutor of making an attempt to extort him and his household over the allegations. The congressman named the previous prosecutor. CNN will not be naming the lawyer, however has reached out to them for a response to Gaetz’s claims.
“The individual would not exist. I’ve not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That’s completely false. The allegation is, as I learn within the New York Occasions is, I’ve traveled with some 17-year-old in some relationship. That’s false and data will bear that out to be false,” he stated.
The Division of Justice declined to remark. In an announcement to CNN, the FBI in Jacksonville stated, “The FBI declines to verify nor deny the existence or standing of an investigation. We refer you to the Division of Justice for additional remark concerning this report.”
The assertion got here after the New York Occasions reported that three individuals briefed on the matter stated that the US Division of Justice’s investigation is a part of a broader investigation.
Federal authorities are investigating Gaetz as a part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations in opposition to one other Florida politician, an individual briefed on the matter advised CNN.
That politician is Joel Greenberg, a former county official in Central Florida who was arrested final 12 months on costs that embrace intercourse trafficking of a minor. Greenberg has pleaded not responsible and is ready to go on trial.
The individual stated the probe of Gaetz was opened within the closing months of the Trump-era Justice Division, and is an outgrowth of the Greenberg investigation. Public integrity prosecutors in Washington, DC, and Tampa are overseeing the Gaetz investigation, the individual added.
Gaetz advised the newspaper in an interview that his attorneys had been in touch with the Justice Division.
“I solely know that it has to do with girls,” Gaetz advised the Occasions. “I’ve a suspicion that somebody is attempting to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as one thing extra untoward.”
Elected in 2016, Gaetz rose to nationwide prominence lately as considered one of Trump’s most vocal defenders.
This story has been up to date with further remark from Gaetz and the FBI in Jacksonville.