McCarthy calls allegations against Gaetz 'serious,' plans to speak with him

WASHINGTON — Area Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stated Wednesday that the allegations in a information file that Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is underneath investigation via the Division of Justice over whether or not he had a sexual courting with a minor and paid for her to go back and forth with him are “severe” and the GOP chief plans to talk with him.

In an interview with Fox Information, McCarthy stated he hadn’t heard from the Justice Division, which The New York Occasions reported Tuesday evening used to be investigating Gaetz and the allegations.

NBC Information showed Wednesday that the Florida lawmaker is underneath investigation for imaginable intercourse trafficking in a case that stems from an affiliate of Gaetz, and there’s a wholly separate investigation into allegations made via Gaetz that he’s the sufferer of extortion.

“I simply learn the tale. The ones are severe implications,” McCarthy stated.

Requested if he would take any motion towards Gaetz, equivalent to putting off him from the Judiciary Committee as Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., has demanded, the GOP chief stated, “DOJ has now not advised me the rest. If a member at my convention will get indicted, they are going to get got rid of from a committee. He says this isn’t true. And we now have a newspaper file that claims one thing else. We’re going to to find out the root.”

McCarthy stated he hopes to talk Wednesday afternoon with Gaetz.

In a remark Tuesday evening on Twitter, Gaetz vehemently denied the allegations reported via the Occasions. The Florida Republican claimed he and his circle of relatives have been the sufferers of a $25 million extortion plot involving a former Justice Division reliable and that he used to be cooperating with federal officers.

“No a part of the allegations towards me are true, and the folk pushing those lies are objectives of the continuing extortion investigation,” Gaetz stated. “I call for the DOJ in an instant liberate the tapes, made at their route, which implicate their former colleague in crimes towards me according to false allegations.”

The file via the Occasions, then again, stated that federal investigators are taking a look into whether or not Gaetz had a sexual courting with a 17-year-old lady and broke federal intercourse trafficking rules. Such rules make it a criminal offense to urge somebody underneath the age of 18 to go back and forth for intercourse in alternate for one thing of price.

Officers advised NBC Information the investigation into Gaetz started ultimate yr when an affiliate of his, Joel Greenberg, a neighborhood Florida reliable, used to be indicted on fees tied to his alleged harassment of a political opponent, who labored at a neighborhood faculty, via letters despatched to his opponent’s employer and thru a number of fictitious social media accounts.

Greenberg used to be indicted on stalking and id fraud-related fees tied to his alleged smear marketing campaign in June. The indictment says Greenberg’s false identity crimes have been to assist facilitate his efforts to interact in intercourse trafficking. It’s out of this investigation, officers inform NBC Information, that government evolved a lead that led them to research whether or not or now not Gaetz used to be concerned with intercourse trafficking a minor lady.

Greenberg’s lawyer has now not been returned a request for remark.

Gaetz has publicly claimed the letter got here from a former federal prosecutor in Florida, David McGee, who issued a remark to The Day-to-day Beast that the extortion allegation is totally false.

McGee didn’t reply to a request for remark from NBC Information, however reiterated to the Washington Publish that he used to be now not hooked up with any extortion strive towards Gaetz or with a Justice Division investigation of the congressman.

“It’s utterly false. It’s a blatant try to distract from the truth that he’s underneath investigation for intercourse trafficking of minors,” McGee advised The Publish on Tuesday.

McGee labored within the Justice Division from the past due 1980s to the past due 1990s and has gained exceptional carrier awards from the Justice Division and Marshalls in addition to a unique commendation from the Director of the FBI, in step with McGee’s biography.

The inquiry into Gaetz, a emerging megastar within the GOP and a staunch best friend of former President Donald Trump, used to be opened within the ultimate months of the Trump management underneath then-Legal professional Basic Invoice Barr, in step with the Occasions.

Federal prosecutors filed a 3rd superseding indictment towards Greenberg on Wednesday, charging him with conspiring with a Small Industry Management worker and some other person to publish allegedly false claims for Financial Harm Crisis Loans, bribing the SBA worker, and stealing cash from the tax collector’s administrative center to shop for cryptocurrency.

There used to be no point out of Gaetz within the indictment and supplied no additional details about Greenberg’s personal intercourse trafficking fees.

Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed.

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