Following an 18 month sex-trafficking investigation, career prosecutors in the Department of Justice have reportedly recommended that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) not be charged with any crimes. According to the Washington Post, prosecutors believe that a conviction would be unlikely due to the lack of credibility of the two central witnesses.
Rep. Matt Gaetz likely to avoid charges in sex-trafficking probe as federal prosecutors recommend against them, people familiar say https://t.co/kfshVa01RL
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 23, 2022
Gaetz was accused of paying for sex with a minor in violation of federal sex-trafficking laws.
Sources told the Post that a final decision has not been made as of yet, but it is rare for such advice to be rejected.
Allegations that Gaetz had been sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl touched off a media frenzy in April of 2021.
The Florida representative denied the accusations, saying he has never paid for sex and that the only time he’s ever had sex with a 17-year-old was when he was also 17, the Post reported.
A federal grand jury in Orlando heard testimony from Gaetz as well as an ex-girlfriend earlier this year.
The ex-girlfriend was among several women on a trip Gaetz allegedly took to the Bahamas in 2018 that has been of particular interest to investigators. The 17-year-old at issue in the investigation was also on that trip, though by that time she was already 18 or older, people familiar with the matter have said. She has been a central witness in the investigation, but people familiar with the case said she is one of two people whose testimony has issues that veteran prosecutors feel would not pass muster with a jury.
The other is a former friend of Gaetz’s, Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, Fla. He pleaded guilty last year to sex trafficking of a minor and a host of other crimes as part of a cooperation deal with authorities.
Greenberg has a history of making false accusations of sexual misconduct against politicians.
Greenberg was first charged in 2020 with fabricating allegations and evidence to smear a political opponent, but prosecutors continued to investigate and added additional charges to his case. He ultimately agreed to plead guilty to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking of a child, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
According to the Post, “prosecutors had been exploring whether Greenberg paid women to have sex with Gaetz and whether the two shared sexual partners, including the 17-year-old girl at issue in Greenberg’s case, these people said.”
Now that Gaetz has been potentially cleared of wrongdoing, conservatives pundits are urging him to “sue the hell” out of everyone who falsely smeared him during the politicized probe.
America First firebrand Matt Gaetz completely vindicated
Hope he sues the hell out of the RATS who smeared him
— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@DarrenJBeattie) September 23, 2022
Reminder: Pence CoS @marctshort went on CNN a few months ago to predict @mattgaetz would go to jail for sex trafficking.
It was a lie. He knew it was a lie. And today we’re told by even WaPo that it was a lie.
Gaetz should sue this bucktoothed prick. https://t.co/CAPz2Xbprd
— Raheem J. Kassam (@RaheemKassam) September 23, 2022
Matt Gaetz has a lot of people to sue!
— Jack Posobiec XLV (@JackPosobiec) September 23, 2022
A punishment of the process. They strung along @mattgaetz for 18 months to destroy his credibility. This is Soviet what they did. I hope he sues everyone.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 23, 2022
The Media smear led Matt Gaetz as a child sex-trafficker— one of the most horrific allegations
Today, prosecutors recommended NO CHARGES for Gaetz
Sue the hell out of every single one of them @mattgaetz!
— Ashley St. Clair (@stclairashley) September 23, 2022
We have *ALWAYS* stood with @mattgaetz.
I hope he sues the scum who did this to him. https://t.co/T0pDeIPN3G
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 23, 2022