According to a New York Times report, three people briefed on the matter said investigators are working to determine whether Gaetz, 38, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.
The people told the Times that investigators are examining whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws.
Two of the people told the paper that it’s not clear how Gaetz and the girl met, but that the alleged encounters occurred approximately two years ago when she was 17.
According to the Times report, the investigation has been going on for several months and was approved by former Attorney General William Barr during the Trump presidency.
The three people told the paper that the probe into Gaetz is part of a larger investigation looking into Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector, who was arrested last year on 14 federal charges.
Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida’s Fourth Congressional District, took to Twitter, saying, “no part of the allegations against me are true.”
He claimed he and his family are the “victims of an organized criminal extortion” involving a former DOJ official “seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.”
He said they have been “cooperating with federal authorities in this matter,” adding that his father has been “wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.”
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz defends Trump after storming of Capitol building
“The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation,” he continued.
Gaetz demanded the DOJ “immediately” release the tapes, “made at their direction,” which he says “implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
Gaetz claimed one of the recordings made at the request of the FBI and the Department of Justice, occurred at the law firm.
“And the money that was supposed to be paid today that would have shown even more evidence of David McGee’s work in this extortion scheme, that was foiled by the New York Times story and I believe this horrible information and these terrible allegations have been used this evening,” he said.
Global News has also reached out to Beggs and Lane for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
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In a telephone interview with Axios Tuesday evening, Gaetz said he believes there are people working at the DOJ that are “trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
Asked by Axios what any potential charges could be related to, Gaetz told Axios in his single days he “provided for women I’ve dated.”
“You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms,” he said. “I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”
However, Gaetz, in an interview with The New York Times, denied having romantic relationships with minors.
“It is verifiably false that I have travelled with a 17-year-old-woman,” he said.
He told the paper he has no plans to resign his seat in the House.
Gaetz, a Trump ally, has been a member of congress since January of 2017.
Last year he announced his engagement to Ginger Luckey, the sister of Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR.
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