Previously on “Gaetz Jailbait Extortion Extravaganza”:
- Matt Gaetz Investigated for “Underage Sex Trafficking,” Alleges Fed Conspiracy
- Matt Gaetz’s Extortion Claims Seem to Check Out
The Matt Gaetz Saga is definitely not getting any less weird – I can tell you that.
An alleged orgy with prostitutes. Accusations of sex with an underage girl. A trophy photo of a woman wearing only a hula hoop. And a convoluted extortion plot involving a likely dead American hostage in Iran.
Even by Florida standards, the Matt Gaetz saga is downright bizarre — and getting weirder by the day.
Most seriously, he is being investigated by the Justice Department for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl, and for paying for her to travel with him across state lines, potentially violating federal sex-trafficking laws.
Gaetz denies the allegations — but not the fact of the investigation.
Then, on Thursday, CNN alleged that he had shown fellow lawmakers nude photos of women he said he’d slept with, including one photographed wearing a hula hoop, and nothing else.
That doesn’t seem unlikely – but it also doesn’t prove any crime.
There have also been claims by two of Gaetz’s enemies that the FBI has photos of him in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”
This is how the latest Gaetz drama has played out so far:
News of the sex-trafficking investigation, launched in the final months of the last administration, broke Tuesday in The New York Times.
The Pensacola bachelor, 38 — whose engagement to Harvard business school student Ginger Luckey, 26, was announced on Twitter by Fox’s Jeanine Pirro in December — immediately denied he had sex with a minor or transported one across state lines.
“In the strongest possible terms. I deny that I have ever been with someone underage,” he told The Post on Tuesday.
“That is false,” he insisted.
But Gaetz had only raised more eyebrows when he conceded to the Times that some of his past “generosity” toward former gal pals may be coming back to haunt him.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” he told the paper, when asked what he knew about the investigation.
“I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Soon, a new squall of headlines — these involving underage sex trafficking victims, an orgy, and a $25 million extortion plot — showed just how much more untoward things could get.
Just hours after the Times story broke, Gaetz did an interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson.
He was there on camera, ostensibly, to clear things up.
Instead, Gaetz wove a twisty tale that cast himself and his father, Don, a wealthy former Florida politician, as the heroic victims of a massive blackmail plot.
That interview definitely did not clear anything up.
Very, very poor crisis management.
He should have just called me and paid my insane rates. It would have worked out much better for him. After that interview, anyone is going to be liable to believe he did anything.
“What is happening,” he told Carlson of the DOJ leak to the Times, “is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official.”
That ex-official, the villain of his purported extortion plot, is attorney David McGee, a former Florida federal prosecutor, Gaetz alleged.
Then there’s the Iranian hostage angle.
McGee and ex-Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent didn’t want the money for themselves, necessarily, Gaetz is alleging.
They wanted to use the money to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent taken hostage by Iran in 2007, and declared dead by his family last year.
That is plausible.
This is inline with the Iran-Contra scandal, and various other black budget activities that US intelligence has been caught doing over the decades.
In Iran-Contra, they were selling weapons to Iran in order to fund anti-communist revolutionaries in Nicaragua.
But isn’t that Jew spy Levinson already dead?
Oh, and about those sex-trafficking allegations?
“Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you’re dating who are of legal age is not a crime,” Gaetz told Carlson, a denial that may have done less in the way of clearing his name than he intended.
McGee, meanwhile, has denied Gaetz’s hostage-extortion plot allegations, calling them “a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking of minors,” as he told The Washington Post.
And McGee is fighting Gaetz with banner-headline dirt of his own.
Which brings us, finally, to the alleged orgy.
Gaetz has shown the Washington Examiner a string of text messages and other documents he says show the details of McGee and Kent’s supposed extortion attempt — including the pair’s reference to the FBI having photos of the congressman in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”
The document has not been verified, and its redundant reference to a “sexual orgy” is not elaborated on.
(Well, there are different kinds of orgies. Such as orgies of violence. “Sexual orgy” is not necessarily “redundant.”)
On Friday, text messages emerged purporting to link Gaetz to Joel Greenberg, a political ally and Seminole County tax official who’s being prosecuted for underage sex trafficking.
It was Greenberg’s prosecution — for allegedly making a fake ID for a minor girl “to facilitate his efforts to engage in commercial sex acts” — that had first put Gaetz on the feds’ radar.
Texts obtained by the Daily Beast appear to show Greenberg asking one of his workers to make a drivers license for Gaetz, who had lost his and needed a quick replacement to board a flight.
(You can just use a passport to board a plane if you lose your state ID.)
The congressman repeatedly boasted to unnamed Florida pols about women he met through Greenberg — even flashing around videos at parties of them in various stages of undress, The Washington Post meanwhile reported Friday night.
And to cap the week off, his communications director, Florida native Luke Ball, scrubbed mentions of Gaetz from his Twitter biography and tendered his resignation.
“The Office of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it would be best to part ways,” a joint statement read. “We thank him for his time in our office, and we wish him the best moving forward.”
If Ball resigned, that presumably means he is working with the feds.
And if Gaetz was involved with Greenberg, he could have ended up involved with underage girls without knowing it.
But wow – what a story.
This is just going way out there, like I have not seen a news story go in a very long time.
Frankly, even if Gaetz gets out of the legal trouble, he’s definitely going to have a hard time getting reelected, which is probably the main purpose of all of this.
I don’t like Gaetz, but he was pushing back against some powerful people, so I’m not totally surprised to see him end up in this kind of situation.
I do wish him the best.
I believe Gaetz over the feds just as a matter of course, and if McGee isn’t involved in something shady here, he already would have filed a defamation suit against Gaetz.