Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation, allegations that he showed lawmakers photos and videos of naked women he claimed to have slept with and an alleged extortion plot, was hit with more poor public relations on Friday.
Luke Ball, communications director for Gaetz (R-Fla.), Is resigning from his post, the congressman’s office announced before the weekend.
“The Office of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it would be best to separate,” read a joint statement. “We appreciate your time in our office and wish you the best in the future.”
Ball removed the mentions of Gaetz, 38, from his Twitter bio at noon Thursday.
The Florida legislator has been embroiled in a considerable amount of controversy in the past week.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the congressman was the subject of an investigation into whether he slept with a 17-year-old girl.
The investigation, the Times reported, grew out of an investigation into Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz ally charged last summer with sex trafficking, among other things.
Gaetz vehemently denied the allegations, instead claiming on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” later that night that his family had been the victim of a $ 25 million extortion plot at the hands of a former Justice Department official. .
That official, David McGee, a former federal prosecutor in Florida who now works at the law firm Beggs & Lane, denies the extortion allegations.
Gaetz also claimed that the existence of the Justice Department investigation was leaked to the media in an effort to thwart the FBI investigation into the alleged extortion plot.
The Republican congressman, the son of Don Gaetz, a prominent former Florida politician, later told a shocked Carlson that his father had started using a wire to assist the FBI in that alleged extortion investigation.
Gaetz, 73, confirmed his son’s account of the cable to Politico in an interview Wednesday, saying he used it during a meeting with McGee in early March.
The former president of the Florida state Senate went on to say that he expressed reservations to authorities about his involvement, noting that the operation would require him to be videotaped making false statements.
“I told the FBI, ‘I am willing to use a cable and be cooperative,’ but they asked me to say things that are not true to make an admission,” the retired Florida legislator told the outlet, without specifying the nature of those ” things”.
As controversy and confusion over the explosive accusations mounted, the young Gaetz was hit with another accusation Thursday.
Multiple sources told CNN that the embattled congressman showed photos of naked women with whom he claimed to have had sex to his fellow legislators, bragging about his conquests.
While on the floor of the house, Gaetz allegedly showed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them.
A video showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, a source told the network.
CNN’s accusation does not appear to be related in any way to the Justice Department investigation.
As part of that investigation, the FBI reportedly questioned several women who claim they were paid to sleep with Gaetz and his friends on drug-fueled dates.
The interviews were conducted as part of the federal investigation, which focuses on Gaetz’s alleged ties to several women who were recruited online for sex and paid for their services, the New York Times reported.
The Post could not immediately reach a representative for Gaetz for comment.