New York Times: Matt Gaetz sought clemency in final weeks of Trump’s presidency


White House officials deemed the Florida Republican’s request not a principle, people told the Times, and it was ultimately never granted.

But the effort fuels new scrutiny of Gaetz after it became public that the Justice Department is investigating him for allegations of sex trafficking and prostitution, including involving a minor, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The Times reported Tuesday that it is unclear what Gaetz knew about the investigation at the time of his request, and he did not tell White House aides when he requested clemency that he was under investigation.

Some Trump associates have theorized in recent days that Gaetz’s request for multiple pardons, not just for him, was a move to disguise his own potential legal exposure, the newspaper said.

However, a Gaetz spokesman denied to the Times that his clemency request was related to the Justice Department investigation.

“Entry-level political operatives have combined a pardon call from Representative Gaetz, where he asked President Trump to forgive ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic’, with these false partisan allegations and every time strangers against him. “, said the spokesman to the medium.

“Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them himself.”

Gaetz has denied all allegations against him since it emerged that federal investigators are examining whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, CNN and The New York Times reported. The Times first revealed the Gaetz investigation.

A person briefed on the investigation confirmed to CNN that federal authorities were investigating Gaetz as part of a larger investigation into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician, an investigation that began in recent months by the Trump-era Justice Department. under Attorney General William Barr.

CNN previously reported that investigators are examining whether Gaetz’s involvement with other young women violated federal sex trafficking and prostitution laws, according to the person briefed on the investigation and another person briefed on the matter. Investigators are also looking into witness allegations and other evidence that Gaetz may have used cash and drugs in his dealings with young women, the sources said.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and the investigation is still in its early stages, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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