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Investigation of Matt Gaetz includes whether campaign funds were used to pay for travel and expenses

Investigators are analyzing whether the Florida Republican engaged in a relationship with a girl that started when she was 17 years outdated and whether his involvement with different younger ladies broke federal intercourse trafficking and prostitution legal guidelines, in accordance to that supply and one other particular person briefed on the matter.

Investigators are additionally pursuing allegations from witnesses and different proof that Gaetz might have used money and medication in his dealings with younger ladies, the sources mentioned.

Gaetz has denied the allegations and has tried to painting the intercourse trafficking investigation as related to an alleged extortion plot towards him. People briefed on the matter say investigators do not imagine the extortion claims are linked to the separate alleged intercourse crimes investigation of Gaetz that has been ongoing for months.

The Gaetz investigation remains to be in its early phases, in accordance to sources aware of the matter.

An lawyer for Gaetz had no remark.

Gaetz info offered to investigators final 12 months

The investigation of Gaetz started within the closing months of the Trump-era Justice Department below then-Attorney General William Barr and was initially half of a broader probe into trafficking allegations towards one other Florida politician.

Information that will join Gaetz to a pretend ID scheme on the middle of the case towards that second Florida politician, Joel Greenberg, was offered to federal investigators in a gathering early final 12 months, in accordance to two different folks aware of the matter.

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In the assembly, which has not been beforehand reported, a witness offered proof linking Gaetz to Greenberg, the previous tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, who was arrested final 12 months on expenses that embrace intercourse trafficking of a minor and fabricating pretend IDs.

Greenberg has pleaded not responsible and is ready to go to trial later this 12 months on the ID and intercourse trafficking expenses, in addition to expenses that he stalked a former political rival.

News of the assembly affords particulars in regards to the Justice Department’s early consciousness of the congressman’s relationship with Greenberg.

According to one of the folks aware of the matter, an worker on the tax collector’s workplace noticed Greenberg and Gaetz on inner workplace surveillance video wanting via driver licenses on a weekend night.

In a textual content message alternate shared with CNN that the supply mentioned was between Greenberg and the worker, Greenberg confirmed he was within the workplace “showing congressman Gaetz what our operation looked like.”

That witness shared the knowledge with prosecutors from the native US lawyer’s workplace and US Secret Service brokers investigating Greenberg’s case in January 2020, the particular person aware of the matter mentioned.

The Secret Service usually investigates federal monetary crimes. There isn’t any indication that the IDs seen being dealt with within the video were used for illegal functions.

The one *big* problem with Matt Gaetz's explanation

As the top of the tax collector’s workplace, Greenberg had entry to driver licenses that folks would give up to the workplace. According to court docket paperwork in his case, Greenberg allegedly used surrendered licenses to create pretend IDs.

In an August indictment, federal prosecutors accused Greenberg of unlawfully accessing a motorized vehicle database to get hold of and use the private info of folks together with some who Greenberg “was engaged in ‘sugar daddy’ relationships” with. He can be accused of intercourse trafficking a toddler between the ages of 14 and 17 years outdated and unlawfully acquiring the {photograph} and driver identification quantity of that youngster.

The two folks aware of the matter mentioned the congressman’s weekend go to to the workplace occurred in 2019.

Attorneys for Gaetz and Greenberg each declined to touch upon the knowledge offered within the assembly with investigators, as did spokespeople for the US lawyer’s workplace in Tampa and the Secret Service.

David Shortell reported from Tampa, Florida.

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Updated on April 23, 2021 3:58 am

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