In the twilight of the Donald Trump administration, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sought a pre-emptive pardon for any crimes he and his allies in Congress may have committed. The New York Times reports.
Gaetz is currently under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking in connection with an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl, focusing especially on whether he paid for her to travel with him. The Justice Department is also investigating whether Gaetz paid multiple women for sex on multiple visits to Florida along with his close ally Joel Greenberg, the now-defendant former Seminole County tax collector. Gaetz has denied the allegations.
It is unclear whether Gaetz or Trump knew of the investigation into the Florida congressman, but the White House refused anyway, believing that a priori pardon would set an unseemly precedent, according to the newspaper. Times.
A Gaetz spokesman said in a statement to Times, “Entry-level political operatives have combined a pardon call from Representative Gaetz, where he asked President Trump to forgive ‘everyone from himself, his administration, to Joe Exotic’, with these false partisan allegations and every time strangers against him. “
Gaetz appeared on Sean Hannity’s show, one of the primetime shows Trump was known to watch, to advocate for a wide swath of pardons in December 2020, shortly after news broke that Trump planned to pardon Trump. former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who already had. pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
“President Trump should forgive Michael Flynn, he should forgive the Thanksgiving turkey, he should forgive anyone from himself to his administration officials or the exotic Joe if need be. You see on the radical left a thirst for blood that will only be quenched if they go after the people who worked so hard to encourage the Trump Administration with the policies, vigor and effectiveness they brought to the American people, ”Gaetz told the host of Fox News.
“I believe that the president should exercise that power of forgiveness in an effective and firm way,” he added.
The case against Greenberg prompted federal agents to investigate Gaetz’s conduct, and investigators reportedly believe the two may have had sex with the same 17-year-old. Greenberg is now in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges after he violated the terms of his bail.
In Congress, Gaetz has become a fierce defender of the former president and a conservative fanatic with a hint of media appearances. He has had conversations with a number of conservative cable news channels (Fox News, One America News and Newsmax) about a post-congressional contributor job.
Gaetz has maintained that the investigation into his relationships and travel is part of a plot to extort tens of millions from him and his father, former Florida state senator Don Gaetz, whose net worth runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The footnote to the investigation saga delves into strange territory. A Florida attorney named Don McGee, a Florida real estate developer previously convicted of fraud named Stephen Alford, and a former Air Force intelligence officer named Bob Kent are said to have urged Gaetz to pay them $ 25 million to early this year. They claimed they would use it to rescue an American hostage in Iranian custody who has already been pronounced dead. The elderly Gaetz used a cable in a meeting with one of the men in cooperation with an FBI investigation.