- Matt Gaetz’s associate, Joel Greenberg, said in a letter obtained by The Daily Beast that Gaetz paid for sex with a minor.
- Gaetz is under a federal criminal investigation over whether he broke sex trafficking laws.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz paid to have sex with a minor, his longtime associate Joel Greenberg said in a letter obtained by The Daily Beast.
“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg said in the letter, referring to an individual who was 17 years old at the time of the alleged encounter with Gaetz, according to The Daily Beast. “From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App, or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.”
Insider could not immediately verify the letter.
The Justice Department has been investigating since last year whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws and engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor. The investigation into him stems from a broader inquiry into the former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, a close associate of Gaetz’s who was indicted on 33 felony counts, including carrying out the sex trafficking of a minor between the ages of 14 and 17. Greenberg previously pleaded not guilty.
Both Gaetz and his father have confirmed the existence of the investigation. Greenberg, meanwhile, appears to be close to striking a plea deal with prosecutors, and The New York Times reported that he’s been cooperating with investigators since last year.
Politico reported that the feds also obtained a search warrant and seized Gaetz’s iPhone in December. The report said Gaetz changed his phone number last year and that investigators also seized his former girlfriend’s phone in November.
Gaetz has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct and wrongdoing, and his office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter obtained by The Daily Beast was written as part of Greenberg’s pleas to Roger Stone to help him secure a pardon from President Donald Trump. The outlet also obtained communications between Greenberg and Stone, a longtime Republican operative who had his prison sentence commuted by Trump.
According to the exchanges, Greenberg offered Stone $250,000 in Bitcoin, to which Stone replied saying he “cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.” A week before Trump left office, Stone told Greenberg to be “prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident,” The Daily Beast reported.
Stone confirmed to the outlet Greenberg wanted to pay him for help with a pardon, but denied asking for money or acting on the request.
Right before leaving office, Trump issued 73 pardons and 70 commutations, including for his former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
The Greenberg letter is the latest development in the Gaetz saga since news of the investigation broke late last month. In addition to looking into whether he broke sex trafficking laws by paying for a minor to travel with him, investigators are also said to be examining whether Gaetz used campaign money to fund travel and other expenses for women.
The congressman has alleged an extortion plot against him and two of his aides have quit. Gaetz has also been accused of showing nude photos of women without their consent to lawmakers on the House floor.