Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department over his alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl, reports The New York Times.
Investigators are looking into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws. It is a federal crime to travel over state lines to engage in sex with somebody under 18 for a monetary value.
It is not clear how Gaetz met the girl, who investigators believe was 17 at the time of the encounters two years ago.
The investigation was opened by the Trump Administration during his last few months of his term.
Three individuals told The New York Times that Gaetz is part of a larger investigation involving one of his allies, Joel Greenburg, who was indited over the summer over “sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex.”
No charges have been brought against Gaetz and it is unknown if he will ever be charged. Gaetz alleges that these allegations are apart of an extortion campaign against him and that he has been cooperating with federal investigators.
“Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” said Gaetz. “We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.”
“The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation,” continued Gaetz. “No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
Gaetz is rumored to be mulling a move that would see him leave Congress in order to join Newsmax.