In just about the kookiest story anyone has heard yet, Matt Gaetz was accused of sex trafficking an underage girl, and he’s come out and accused the government of attempting to extort him for $25 million.
This is some surreal shit.
The story started early Tuesday night when the New York Times published a story claiming that Gaetz is under investigation for “sex trafficking” a 17-year-old girl. The article was vague, and gave almost no details, but said that the FBI was investigating him for paying for a plane flight for a girl he was dating who was only 17.
The Times changed its original headline to make it more scandalous sounding.
They changed “sexual relationship” to “sex” and removed the girl’s age. Seventeen is the oldest you can be and still be underage, so it’s better to have people picturing someone younger, I guess.
Sex with a 17-year-old is not a crime, but virtually everything you do with a 17-year-old other than sex is illegal, including, apparently, paying for their plane ticket. When they cross state lines, it become federal jurisdiction. This was the core of the allegation in the Times: that he paid for the plane ticket of a 17-year-old. The Times said the ticket-buying event happened two years ago, and that the investigation was opened at the end of the Trump Administration by William Barr. They did not name the girl.
Gaetz immediately tweeted about the story, accusing the government of trying to extort him for money.
Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.
We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter…
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
…of the ongoing extortion investigation.
I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
This is an incredibly bizarre story.
He is saying that a former Justice Department official contacted his family and said that if they gave him $25 million they would make the sex trafficking charges go away. He said he then contacted the local Florida FBI, and they had his dad wear a wire while he contacted and had a conversation with the DoJ official that was extorting him.
His dad was the one contacted initially and extorted. His dad is rich, as per Wikipedia: “Gaetz founded VITAS Healthcare Corporation with a group of investors, which he later sold for nearly half a billion dollars in 2004.”
Gaetz is demanding that the DOJ release the tapes that his dad recorded of the former DOJ official discussing a bribe with him.
He flatly denied the underage girl allegations.
The Times also included a side story involving the Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who Gaetz is somehow linked to politically and personally, and said that he had been charged with sex with an underage girl, and also with “financially supporting women for sex” (sugar daddying), which I guess is illegal in Florida. Gaetz was allegedly told that the FBI agents who questioned him were actually investigating Greenberg.
(Telling someone they’re a subject when they’re actually the target is standard FBI harassment behavior.)
Most bizarre is when he then went on the Tucker Carlson show, and gave a totally bizarre interview.
The most obvious takeaway from the interview is that Gaetz is not in a sound emotional state. He’s having a very hard time keeping it together. Axios noted that you could hear that on the phone when they talked to him. I understand stress, but the fact of reality is that he’s a Congressman, and he should be able to fake composure better than this. I think it is something with millennials that they have not really become adults, even in their late 30s. Whatever it is, it’s embarrassing.
Sounding shaken, Gaetz said that for weeks, he and his father been working with the FBI in the Northern District of Florida on an extortion case. The DOJ declined to comment. https://t.co/ZFbZaZ8ice
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 30, 2021
Gaetz repeated to Tucker what he said in the tweet, and then actually named the guy behind the extortion – David McGee. This guy is a real lawyer, working for Florida firm Beggs & Lane. His profile on their website says that he did indeed work for the DOJ: “Prior to going into private practice he served for six years as the First Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office and for seven years as the Lead Attorney for a United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Task Force.”
He actually looks like someone who would be doing something like this.
Of course, I have no idea.
But I did zoom in on his face.
Gaetz also claimed the FBI told him to go ahead and wire some of the extortion money, which would allow them to indict McGee. He says he was going to wire the money on Tuesday, and the Times broke the story to intervene in that sting process. This doesn’t really make sense to me, because he’s saying his dad was going to wire $4.5 million as a downpayment. You can’t really just wire someone $4.5 million in America. Any kind of transfer that large from one individual to another is going to be flagged. Extortion usually involves some form of money laundering scheme. Maybe that existed, and Gaetz just hasn’t explained it yet. (Even if there was a mechanism of laundering, I don’t see how $4.5 million could be moved, unless Gaetz senior is moving that kind of money regularly.)
During the interview, Gaetz also claimed that McGee said he had connections in the Biden Administration, and said that Biden would pardon him. I don’t know what that means exactly, since he also said that McGee promised to make the charges go away. If you’re paying $25 million for something you haven’t been charged with yet, you shouldn’t need to get a pardon.
He said that McGee said that he sent his dad a text message on March 16, and along with the 17-year-old girl claim, also allegedly said he had photos of Gaetz with “child prostitutes.”
The other weird thing here is that during the interview, Gaetz kept taking swings at Tucker, twice trying to drag him into the situation. He first said “I’m not the only one on the screen that has faced false sex allegations.” Tucker said that twenty years ago a mentally ill viewer accused him of rape – but it seems that Gaetz was quite rudely referring to a more recent allegation. Tucker seemed very agitated by this. Gaetz then said that he had dinner with Tucker and brought a woman with him and asked him to remember it, and Tucker said he had no memory of that. If I was Matt Gaetz in this insane situation, I would want Tucker on my side, and I wouldn’t try to drag him into my alleged sex scandal.
Tucker ended the interview and said “that is one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever done… I don’t think that clarified much.” He later joked: “tomorrow night – Matt Gaetz, for the whole hour!” It was a joke, but I would watch an hour of this guy talking about this. This story is fascinating.
It’s sort of ridiculous that Gaetz was allegedly getting extorted by the feds and went the FBI. McGee was an ex-fed, but he was claiming to be working with the feds to the point where he claimed the ability to be able to get charges dropped, and get a presidential pardon from Joe Biden. According to his bio, he was indeed a high level DOJ official. I guess you have to call someone, but if I was in that situation, I would call Lin Wood.
No I mean, I wouldn’t call Lin Wood, but I would find some lawyer who had some idea how to handle the situation. I don’t know what they would eventually tell me to do, because if you’re being extorted by the Justice Department, your options are really limited. Maybe you would go to the sheriff? The governor? In Florida, if I were Gaetz, I probably find a lawyer who would somehow work with the Governor. The governor has cops who could investigate.
After the Tucker interview, multiple papers, including POLITICO, reported that Gaetz sent them documents relating to this alleged extortion scheme. If he’s got documents to produce within hours of the article, along with a very specific story, it’s unlikely he’s just making it up.
He told Tucker that McGee was extorting him for personal financial gain. Tucker used the word “greed.” I don’t like Matt Gaetz, but he is someone who has continued to support Donald Trump, and has directly opposed Liz Cheney. In fact, he actually flew to Cheney’s home state of Wyoming and led a protest against her. I’ve never seen a Congressman fly to another Congressman’s state and lead a protest. So regardless of the fact that I don’t like him, it’s definitely clear that he could make some powerful people mad.
Rep Matt Gaetz should be taken off the @HouseJudiciary Committee until the @TheJusticeDept investigation is completed. He should not be sitting on a Congressional Committee with oversight over the DOJ while the Department is investigating him. https://t.co/TKRfSyCgHe
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 30, 2021
Which makes the extortion angle very strange. If the goal is to destroy him politically, or even imprison him, why extort his dad for cash?
This is weird, wacky stuff. This is the year of the meltdown. Gaetz is weird, and not well put together. He’s frankly a millennial slob. But maybe McGee is whacked out of his gourd?
This is what I see:
- Gaetz was making some people mad
- The DOJ set up some kind of thing where they could at least accuse Gaetz of something, and smear him if not actually convict him
- McGee got wind of the investigation of Gaetz, knew Gaetz’ dad was rich, and decided to extort him – because hey, why not?
The thing is, if you remove the extortion, you still have the situation of a DOJ investigation for the “sex trafficking.” I don’t think McGee, however well-connected, is capable of ordering fake sex charges against a sitting Congressman. Confirming Gaetz’ story about extortion wouldn’t clear him in the investigation. It would, however, make the whole thing look like a sham. If he proves the extortion thing happened, it is going to be very hard for the DOJ to push forward with some trumped up jailbait allegation.
By default, I believe Gaetz over the feds. I would believe a random homeless person over the feds at this point. It is possible that they sent some girl who said she was 18 and she was really 17 and he bought her a plane ticket to come see him and they had sex, and that becomes “underage sex trafficking.” However, they’re also saying the event happened two years ago, so if they had evidence of it, it seems like they’d just go ahead and hit him with it, rather than do some drawn out investigation.
It’s also possible that he doesn’t even know what girl they’re talking about. He seems like a dopey guy who didn’t get much sex in high school who would be using his fame to regularly fly girls out to hotels, and the feds could have slipped a 17-year-old in there, and then not brought up an investigation until later. It would make sense the DOJ has some kind of blackmail on every member of Congress that they can get blackmail on, and if this guy is being a thirsty moron and flying girls who hit him up on social media out to stay in a hotel – it’s easy to see how the feds would take advantage of that behavior.
You have to understand that anyone who is even mildly famous has girls hitting them up on social media all day long. If you’re kind of a dorky guy, you might get into a habit of buying girls plane tickets to come see you. Then the FBI just slips in a 17-year-old that seems really excited to see you because “OMG you looked so hot on TV yesterday.”
Here’s one last thing to consider: they don’t have to prove an underage girl. If they throw out the allegation of underage girls, and then start spamming the media of pictures of him with a bunch of different young, attractive women, that will be enough to destroy his career. That could actually be the play here (aside from the McGee thing). People will get mad when some guy is getting a bunch of pussy, mostly out of jealousy for men, and whatever other emotion for women (women will say “he’s a womanizer,” as if the man is victimizing the women somehow – I don’t understand what their exact claim is, but I know women also don’t like men who are having a bunch of sex). They tried this strategy with Trump, saying, “look at all these women he had sex with! It’s an outrage!”, but the public was like, “of course he’s having sex with a bunch of women – he’s AWESOME.” With Matt Gaetz, the response will be, “that chubby twerp is only getting all those girls because he’s on TV, and that’s not fair to the rest of us.”
Frankly, I’d thought Gaetz was a homosexual.
Whatever the case, I stand with Gaetz, and eagerly await the response from the odiously fiendish rogue McGee.