Prosecutors are looking at whether Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz obstructed justice during a call with a witness in the FBI’s sex crimes investigation, Politico reports.
The obstruction inquiry comes after Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend patched Gaetz into a call with a witness in the investigation, according to the report.
Though it’s unknown what was said on the call, investigators are reportedly looking at whether Gaetz suggested that the witness give false or misleading testimony.
The witness later spoke to prosecutors. She was one of several women involved with Gaetz and his former “wingman” Joel Greenberg, who has since pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges including child sex trafficking.
Gaetz is reportedly under investigation for trafficking a 17-year-old girl. He has denied any wrongdoing and denied that the teen exists.
A spokesman for Gaetz said that the congressman has not broken any laws.
“Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it,” the statement said. “The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the 'story' is changing yet again.”
What happens next?
Longtime federal defense attorney Brian Tannebaum told Politico that obstruction of justice is “widely used by prosecutors in various forms” and if prosecutors recorded the call involving Gaetz they will look for signs that he was trying to get the witness to “get her story straight.”
“If there’s any indication he was trying to influence her testimony, that can be obstruction,” Tannebaum said. “If it’s determined that what he said obstructed the investigation — ‘did what he tell you have any influence on your testimony before the grand jury?’ — it can be real problem.”