The Justice Department investigation into Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and an indicted associate is focused on their involvement with women who received cash payments after being recruited online for sex, The New York Times reports.
Investigators believe former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz associate indicted for sex trafficking and other charges last year, met the women on apps where men arrange to provide gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances in exchange for dates. Greenberg introduced the women to Gaetz, who also had sex with them, according to the report.
One of the women who had sex with both men also agreed to have sex with an “unidentified associate of theirs in Florida Republican politics.”
Gaetz denied ever paying a woman for sex.
The DOJ is also looking at whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and whether she received anything of value. The sex trafficking charge against Greenberg involved the same girl, according to the report.
Gaetz denied that the 17-year-old existed. Greenberg has pleaded not guilty.
NYT has receipts:
The New York Times reviewed receipts showing payments from Gaetz and Greenberg to one of the women using Cash App and Apple Pay and another payment from Greenberg to a second woman.
The women told their friends the payments were for sex with the two men, according to the report.
“In encounters during 2019 and 2020, Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg instructed the women to meet at certain times and places, often at hotels around Florida, and would tell them the amount of money they were willing to pay,” the report said.
The men also took ecstasy before having sex during some of the encounters, according to the report.
The FBI has questioned the women involved as recently as January.
“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex,” his office said in a statement. “Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life.”
Gaetz showed photos to lawmakers:
CNN also reported on Thursday that Gaetz bragged to fellow lawmakers about his sexual encounters and showed them photos and videos of nude women he said he slept with, including while on the House floor.
"It was a point of pride," one source told the outlet.
There is no evidence that the photos are connected to the DOJ probe.
Few Republicans have been willing to publicly defend Gaetz, who has made few friends and many enemies in his four years in Congress.
Gaetz was set to be in talks with Newsmax about a potential career switch before reports of the investigation broke.