Matt Gaetz Skirts Sex Trafficking Charges
The Justice Department will not charge Matt Gaetz after a prolonged investigation into whether he sex trafficked a 17-year-old girl, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Gaetz’s office confirmed the news in a statement to Rolling Stone: “The Department of Justice has confirmed to Congressman Gaetz’s attorneys that their investigation has concluded and that he will not be charged with any crimes.”
The decision comes after prosecutors recommended against charging the Florida congressman in September, citing credibility issues with the case’s two central witnesses. Gaetz has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The DOJ’s investigation centered around Gaetz’s relationship with former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, who has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same minor authorities were probing Gaetz for potentially trafficking. Greenberg noted in his guilty plea that he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.” He did not specify whether Gaetz was among those men, although last year, The Daily Beast obtained a letter in which Greenberg claimed he and Gaetz both paid to have sex with a minor.
The Daily Beast also obtained Venmo transactions between Greenberg and Gaetz, as well as between Greenberg and the 17-year-old girl. In May 2018, Gaetz sent Greenberg $900 late at night. Greenberg sent a total of $900 to three young women the following morning, noting that the payments were for “tuition” and “school.”
Greenberg has been cooperating with authorities, and though it seemed he could provide evidence to incriminate Gaetz, it’s hardly surprising that the DOJ doesn’t consider the man who faced 33 federal charges ranging from identity theft to embezzlement to sex trafficking to be a reliable witness.