DOJ probe into Gaetz involves cash payments to women: report

The Department of Justice investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) reportedly involves cash paid to multiple women who were recruited for sex online, The New York Times reported, citing payment recipients and text messages.

The Times reported Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into Gaetz also involves former Seminole County, Fla., tax collector Joel Greenberg, who allegedly met women online on websites for dates in exchange for gifts and travel. Greenberg allegedly introduced the women to Gaetz, people familiar with the matter told the Times.

Messages and interviews indicate Greenberg and Gaetz directed the women to meet them at specific times and locations and laid out the amount of money for which they would be compensated. People familiar with the matter told the Times that the illegal drug ecstasy would at times be consumed.  

Receipts on mobile payment apps reviewed by the Times showed money from Gaetz and Greenberg being sent to one of the women, who told friends it was for having sex with both men. A person interviewed by the Times said the men would sometimes use hotel ATMs to pay in cash.

Gaetz did not respond to requests for comment by The Hill on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, CNN reported that Gaetz showed lawmakers nude photos of women he said he had sex with, including while he was conducting business on the House floor. It is unclear whether the photos Gaetz reportedly showed to his colleagues are connected to the DOJ investigation. 

One GOP lawmaker told The Hill on Thursday that they had not seen the photos but that Gaetz had “just bragged to me about some conquest in my district.”

On Tuesday, the Times reported that the Florida Republican was being investigated by DOJ over whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and whether he violated any sex trafficking laws.

Gaetz has denied allegations that he had sex with a minor. 

Gaetz told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Tuesday the allegations he had sex with a minor and traveled with her across state lines were “verifiably false.” He also claimed that he and his family are targets of an extortion scheme by a former DOJ official seeking millions of dollars.

“People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case,” Gaetz said.

House Republicans have largely remained silent on the matter, with only House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) coming to his defense. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) acknowledged the gravity of the allegations during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, but said he wants additional evidence before taking disciplinary action such as removing Gaetz from committees.

Members of House GOP leadership, including McCarthy, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they would call for the Florida Republican to step down in the wake of the most recent allegations.

Tags Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Tucker Carlson

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