Justice Department prosecutors have recommended against charging Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz in a federal sex trafficking investigation over concerns about witness credibility, The Washington Post reports.
Career prosecutors advised DOJ leaders that they have credibility questions about two central witnesses in the case.
Senior officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz but it is “rare for such advice to be rejected,” The Post reported.
Additional evidence may also impact prosecutors’ view of the case, a source told the outlet.
Prosecutors have raised questions about the woman Gaetz was accused of traveling with and paying for sex when she was 17, according to the report.
Veteran prosecutors felt her testimony “would not pass muster with a jury,” according to the report.
The other witness is former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, who pleaded guilty last year to sex-trafficking the 17-year-old girl in question and a range of other federal charges, including sex trafficking of a child, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
Greenberg cooperated with prosecutors as part of his plea deal.
Gaetz sought pardon:
Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon from former President Donald Trump in the case, The Washington Post reported last week.
Former Trump aide Johnny McEntee told the House Jan. 6 committee that Gaetz told him “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him.”
McEntee added that Gaetz told him “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.”
Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for a pardon, according to the testimony.