Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks during panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The former girlfriend of Rep. Matt Gaetz testified in a federal sex trafficking probe involving the GOP congressman last week and, according to CBS News, she received immunity before doing so. Gaetz has reportedly been under investigation for potential child sex trafficking for more than a year, although the DOJ has yet to officially acknowledge that he’s under investigation.
The investigation centers around Gaetz’s relationship with a woman who was 17 at the time, and whether Gaetz gave the teenager money or goods in exchange for sex. Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend, who has not been publicly named and reportedly dated Gaetz during the time when he had the alleged sexual relationship at the center of the investigation, testified last week to a federal grand jury in Orlando.The ex-girlfriend reportedly traveled to the Bahamas with Gaetz, another woman who is also a witness in the investigation, and a third woman, who was 18 at the time of the trip, according to CBS News. Investigators are reportedly trying to determine if Gaetz’s sexual relationship with the third woman began when she was 17. Joel Greenberg, a local elected official in Florida’s Seminole County and friend of Gaetz, pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud and child sex trafficking charges. Greenberg, who is cooperating with the federal government and will be sentenced in March, has told confidants that both he and Gaetz had sex with the 17-year-old but that they only found out her age afterward, according to the New York Times.
Greenberg also wrote in a letter last year that the 17-year-old “was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, [Gaetz], and myself,” the Daily Beast reported last year. Gaetz, a top ally of former President Donald Trump and a prominent far-right member of Congress, has not been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing. Gaetz has also alleged that he’s being investigated because he’s a political target of the Department of Justice, even though the investigation began under former Attorney General Bill Barr while Trump was still president. Gaetz is also being investigated for potential obstruction of justice, and as part of the probe, investigators are looking into whether Gaetz had a phone call with his ex-girlfriend and the other women who went on the Bahamas trip, according to CBS News. Gaetz’s phone was seized last winter, Politico reported in April. Gaetz, 39, and his wife, Ginger Luckey, got married in August. He isn’t beloved by the whole family: Gaetz’s sister-in-law, former White House intern Roxanne Luckey, accused Gaetz last year of attempting to set her up with a divorced friend in his 40s when she was 19 and “gaslighting” her when she confronted him about it. After news broke that the ex-girlfriend had testified, Gaetz lawyer Isabelle Kirshner said in a statement last week that his legal team has “seen no credible basis for a charge against Congressman Gaetz. We remain steadfast in our commitment to challenge any allegations with the facts and law.”