- The Justice Department decided not to bring charges against Rep. Matt Gaetz, his lawyer said.
- Gaetz had been under investigation for alleged sex trafficking, which he denied.
- Federal investigators reportedly warned DOJ leadership last fall two key witnesses were unreliable.
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has formally decided not to charge firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz in a sex-trafficking investigation, the lawmaker’s lawyers said Wednesday.
“We have just spoken with the DOJ and have been informed that they have concluded their investigation into Congressman Gaetz and allegations related to sex trafficking and obstruction of justice and they have determined not to bring any charges against him,” attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said.
Justice did not immediately comment. The decision was first reported by CNN.
Gaetz, R-Fla., has been under investigation for years for allegedly having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl and allegedly paying for her to travel with him. But Gaetz, 40, who said he cooperated with federal investigators and strongly denied the allegations.
The Gaetz probe was launched after the arrest of a former Florida tax collector, Joel Greenberg, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses. Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.
But the Justice Department leadership made a final decision not to pursue charges against Gaetz, after investigators recommended not moving forward in the fall. The investigators had warned that two key witnesses were unreliable.
The investigation coincided with Gaetz’s rise to national prominence as a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and antagonist to congressional Democrats.
Gaetz, who represents the Florida Panhandle including Pensacola, serves on the Armed Services and Judiciary committees, including a new subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government.
Story Credit: usatoday.com