A GOP congressman, a sex-trafficking probe, and a $25 million extortion plot: Here’s everything we know about ‘Gaetzgate’


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Army has fired or suspended 14 leaders at Fort Hood following an investigation into the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillén and numerous other deaths and reports of sexual abuse on the military base. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said on March 25 that if he was ever the subject of a scandal, he wanted it to be called “Gaetzgate.”

Less than a week later, the lawmaker got his wish.

It started with a bombshell New York Times story about a federal sex crimes investigation into Gaetz, which is said to be examining whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and violated sex-trafficking laws. Gaetz has not been charged in connection to the investigation.

But the saga has since morphed to include details of an alleged multimillion dollar extortion scheme Gaetz says was carried out by two former government officials who found out about the sex probe and tried to shake his family down.

Here’s what you need to know about “Gaetzgate,” beginning with the cast of characters:

Matt Gaetz: a Republican lawmaker who was elected in 2016 to represent Florida’s 1st Congressional District. He’s made headlines for his unwavering loyalty to former President Donald Trump and his public crusades against “cancel culture” and Big Tech.

Don Gaetz: Gaetz’s father, who used to be the president of the Florida state Senate and is now a private citizen.

Joel Greenberg: a Gaetz associate and former Seminole County, Florida tax collector who was indicted last year on 14 felony counts, including carrying out the sex trafficking of a minor. He’s been charged with a total of 33 counts from four indictments. Greenberg pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is set to start in June.

David McGee: a former Justice Department prosecutor who left the department more than two decades ago and now works at the Florida-based law firm Beggs & Lane.

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Bob Kent: a former Air Force intelligence officer who left the government in 2007. His LinkedIn says he is now a “research consultant” who does business in the Middle East. 

Stephen Alford: a convicted fraudster and developer based in Destin, Florida who was arrested in 2015 on state felony charges including extortion, fraud, and grand theft auto. At the time, Alford had been recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence related to a separate fraud scheme.

Robert Levinson: a former DEA and FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while he was on a CIA mission. In 2017, he became the longest-held American hostage in history. His family declared him dead …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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