Apr 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

Context: Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crimes, has repeatedly denied allegations of being sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl and claims that he shared naked images of women with other Congress members.

What they're saying: As of Saturday afternoon, Murphy's automated email response says: "I am no longer with the office of Congressman Matt Gaetz. Womp womp. Cue the sad trombone."

  • Murphy directed requests to Isabela Belchior, who was named as legislative counsel for Gaetz in February. She previously assisted Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) in the 2020 impeachment trial of former President Trump.
  • Murphy told associates he was interested in working on legislation, not working at TMZ, the New York Times reported earlier this week.
  • Murphy left not because of the representative's legal troubles but over media coverage of the investigation, per CNN.

The big picture: The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it had launched a probe into Gaetz.

  • Gaetz said the Justice Department launched an investigation after charging one of his associates, Joel Greenberg, with federal sex trafficking and other crimes.
  • A lawyer for Greenberg indicated last week that he is in plea negotiations with federal prosecutors over his sex trafficking of a minor.
  • A plea deal may indicate that Greenberg is open to cooperating with investigators by providing information, though it's unknown how deep the negotiations are.

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