- A video has surfaced of Donald Trump being greeted at an airport by a man at the center of Rep. Matt Gaetz’s sex trafficking allegations.
- Jason Pirozzolo met Trump, then president, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida in 2019.
- Pirozzolo is accused of paying for female escorts for Gaetz on a Bahamas trip in 2018 or 2019.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Video footage from 2019 has surfaced of former President Donald Trump and his wife Melania being greeted at a Florida airport by the man at the center of the sex trafficking allegations involving GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.
A video posted in June 2019 by Ryan Gillespie, a journalist at the Orlando Sentinel, shows the then-president Donald Trump, who was in Orlando to launch his re-election bid, and Melania Trump disembarking from a plane and meeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Jason Pirozzolo on the airport tarmac.
The Justice Department is currently investigating whether Pirozzolo, a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon and Gaetz broke federal sex trafficking laws during a trip to the Bahamas in 2018 or 2019, CBS News reported.
Sources told CBS News that Pirozzolo paid for the travel expenses, accommodation, and female escorts for those present on the Bahamas trip, and said investigators are trying to determine if the escorts were illegally trafficked across state lines for the purpose of sex with Gaetz. Neither man has been charged in connection with the investigation.
It is unclear why Pirozzolo was present at the airport to greet President Trump.
Gillespie wrote on Twitter at the time that Pirozzolo was “an Orlando hand surgeon and GOAA board member,” referring to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
Orlando Sentinel journalist Jason Garcia on Thursday reported that when Pirozzolo applied to become a GOAA board member, he listed Rep. Gaetz as one of his references.
-Jason Garcia (@Jason_Garcia) April 7, 2021
-Ryan Gillespie (@byRyanGillespie) June 18, 2019
The Department is also investigating allegations that Gaetz had sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl across state lines which could also represent a violation of state trafficking laws, the New York Times reported.
Gaetz has denied all the allegations made against him in relation to the investigations and has claimed he was the victim of an extortion scam. He also specifically denied allegations relating to the Bahamas trip.
“Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl,” a spokesman told CBS. “What began with blaring headlines about ‘sex trafficking’ has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults.”
Insider contacted the office of Gov. DeSantis for comment.