Embattled Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz now faces additional scrutiny into his response to news that he is being investigated as part of a sex trafficking probe.
Two sources familiar with the investigation told Politico in an article published Wednesday that Mr Gaetz now faces inquiries into whether he took steps to obstruct a federal investigation as investigators continue looking into his dealings.
A rep for Mr Gaetz fiercely denied any insinuation that Gaetz had obstructed justice, and echoed previous rejections of any wrongdoing.
“Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it,” a spokesperson told Politico. “The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the ‘story’ is changing yet again.”
The Independent has reached out for further comment.
The congressman found himself embroiled in controversy earlier this year after it was revealed that he and an associate, former Seminole County, Fla., tax agent Joel Greenberg, were facing investigations for allegedly paying women for sex, while Gaetz himself reportedly is under additional scrutiny for a possible relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
The fiery Florida lawmaker is one of former President Donald Trump’s top supporters, and has seen himself largely ostracized by fellow Republicans save for the GOP’s far-right fringe in the House since the allegations and news of the investigation emerged.
Mr Gaetz has also alleged that he is the victim of an extortion scheme related to the investigation, and claimed in late March that a former Department of Justice official had demanded $25 million to make the probe disappear.
“The allegations against me are as searing as they are false,” Mr Gaetz told Axios in March. “I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, has said that Gaetz would face removal from the House if the allegations he faced turned out to be true.
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