Trial set in alleged $25M scheme to extort Gaetz family

Trial set in alleged $25M scheme to extort Gaetz family
© Greg Nash

Florida developer Stephen Alford will go on trial on Dec. 6 over accusations of organizing an extortion plot associated with the federal sex investigation into Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMcCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP McCarthy pleads with Republicans to stop infighting: 'Congress is not junior high' GOP infighting just gets uglier MORE (R-Fla.), the The Associated Press reported. 

Alford pleaded not guilty in a Pensacola federal court on Friday. Authorities say he attempted to get $25 million from a person whom court records called "D.G.," who is believed to be Matt Gaetz's father.

Upon getting the money, Alford promised to obtain a presidential pardon from then-President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE for a family member or ensure the Department of Justice dropped its investigation. These assurances were in addition to funding the release of someone known as "R.L.," the AP added.

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Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate, is the Matt Gaetz's father. "R.L." is believed to be Robert Levinson, an FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007, according to news reports.

Matt Gaetz, a close ally of former President Trump, was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to travel with him.

Gaetz, who is under federal investigation for those claims, denies the allegations and argues they are part of an extortion plot. 

"Yes, just like the mafia, the D.C. swamp protects its 'made men.' Since I’m taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly," Gaetz wrote in an editorial from the Washington Examiner earlier this year.

"First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old," he added. "This is how D.C. works. The guilty and wrong point fingers at the innocent and right."

Court records showed that Alford was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for a 2006 fraud conviction, the AP reported.