Feds press ex-girlfriend for cooperation in Gaetz probe
Federal investigators scrutinizing Rep. Matt Gaetz are seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who was once a girlfriend of the Florida Republican, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
Investigators could also soon gain the formal cooperation of a second key witness, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is approaching a deadline this week to strike a plea agreement with the government on more than two dozen charges he’s facing.
The pursuit of the cooperation comes as investigators are nearly finished collecting evidence, one source said. The probe, which is examining whether Gaetz broke federal sex trafficking, prostitution and public corruption laws and whether he had sex with a minor, has been ongoing for months.
But decisions on whether to charge Gaetz have yet to be made and will fall to prosecutors in the public integrity section of the Justice Department. That decision is likely to take some time, another source familiar with the matter said, as the Justice Department considers whether there’s sufficient evidence for an indictment.
The cooperation of Greenberg and the former girlfriend could be among the final steps in the probe of Gaetz. Investigators view both as crucial to understanding the relevance of hundreds of transactions they have obtained records of, including those involving payments for sex, sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN. The ex-girlfriend could also be questioned by investigators about a second woman as they try to determine whether Gaetz may have slept with that woman when she was only 17.
The former girlfriend, who did not work in Gaetz’s office on Capitol Hill, is of interest to investigators because she was on a trip Gaetz took to the Bahamas in 2018 and is believed to have knowledge of drug use and arrangements with women, the sources say.
Gaetz has been isolated politically but has remained defiant in the six weeks since the investigation first became public, launching a nationwide speaking tour alongside the controversy-generating Georgia Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, with the investigation swirling around him.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, including paying for sex or having sex with a minor.
In response to CNN’s questions for this story, a Gaetz spokesperson said: “Your ‘story’ is simply a regurgitation of the same falsehoods you’ve been peddling for two months now without a shred of evidence or a single on-record accuser.”
Timothy Jansen, a lawyer for the ex-girlfriend, declined to comment.
The FBI and Justice Department also declined to comment.
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