Investigators are inspecting whether or not the Florida Republican had a relationship with a lady that started when she was 17 and whether or not his relationship with different younger ladies violated federal intercourse trafficking and prostitution legal guidelines, based on that supply and one other individual briefed on the matter. .
Investigators are additionally trying into witness allegations and different proof that Gaetz could have used money and medicines in his dealings with younger ladies, the sources stated.
Gaetz has denied the allegations and has tried to painting the intercourse trafficking investigation as related to an alleged extortion plot in opposition to him. Individuals briefed on the matter say investigators don’t imagine the extortion allegations are linked to Gaetz’s separate investigation of alleged intercourse crimes that has been ongoing for months.
The Gaetz investigation remains to be in its early levels, based on sources acquainted with the matter.
A lawyer for Gaetz had no remark.
Gaetz Info Offered to Researchers Final 12 months
The Gaetz investigation started within the remaining months of the Trump-era Justice Division beneath then-Legal professional Normal William Barr and was initially half of a bigger investigation into trafficking allegations in opposition to one other Florida politician.
Info which will join Gaetz to a false identification scheme on the middle of the case in opposition to that second Florida politician, Joel Greenberg, was offered to federal investigators at a gathering early final yr, based on two different folks acquainted with the matter. .
On the beforehand unreported assembly, a witness offered proof linking Gaetz to Greenberg, the previous tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, who was arrested final yr on fees together with intercourse trafficking of a minor. and fabrication of false identifications.
Greenberg has pleaded not responsible and is scheduled to go to trial later this yr on the intercourse trafficking and identification fees, in addition to the costs that he stalked a former political rival.
Information from the assembly gives particulars on the Justice Division’s early information of the congressman’s relationship with Greenberg.
In line with one of many folks acquainted with the matter, an worker on the tax collector’s workplace noticed Greenberg and Gaetz on inside workplace surveillance video taking a look at driver’s licenses on a weekend night time.
In a textual content message alternate shared with CNN that the supply stated was between Greenberg and the worker, Greenberg confirmed that he was within the workplace “displaying Congressman Gaetz what our operation was like.”
That witness shared the data with prosecutors from the native U.S. lawyer’s workplace and U.S. Secret Service brokers investigating Greenberg’s case in January 2020, the individual acquainted with the matter stated. .
The Secret Service repeatedly investigates federal monetary crimes. There isn’t any indication that the IDs seen to be tampered with within the video had been used for unlawful functions.
As head of the tax collector’s workplace, Greenberg had entry to driver’s licenses that folks would flip over to the workplace. In line with court docket paperwork in his case, Greenberg allegedly used surrendered licenses to create false identifications.
In an August indictment, federal prosecutors charged Greenberg with illegally accessing a motorcar database to acquire and use the non-public data of individuals, together with some with whom Greenberg “was concerned in” candy daddy “relationships. “. He’s additionally charged with intercourse trafficking a toddler between the ages of 14 and 17 and illegally acquiring that kid’s photograph and driver’s identification quantity.
The 2 folks acquainted with the matter stated the congressman’s weekend go to to the workplace happened in 2019.
Legal professionals for Gaetz and Greenberg declined to touch upon the data offered on the assembly with investigators, as did spokespersons for america Legal professional’s workplace in Tampa and the Secret Service.
David Shortell reported from Tampa, Florida.