Report: Prosecutors investigating whether Gaetz obstructed justice
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) denies he's obstructed justice after Politico reported late Wednesday that federal prosecutors are looking into the allegation as part of a sex crimes investigation.
Driving the news: Per Politico, the obstruction of justice inquiry centers on a call Gaetz had with a witness in the Department of Justice case against Joel Greenberg, a former associate of the congressman, who's pleaded guilty to charges including sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and wire fraud.
- At some point during the conversation, Gaetz's former girlfriend "patched" him into the call with the witness, Politico reports, citing sources familiar with the case.
- "While it's unknown exactly what was said, the discussion on that call is central to whether prosecutors can charge Gaetz with obstructing justice, which makes it illegal to suggest that a witness in a criminal case lie or give misleading testimony," according to Politico.
For the record: Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied allegations of being sexually involved with a 17-year-old and claims that he shared naked images of women with other Congress members.
- He told Axios' Jonathan Swan in March that the investigation is "rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million."
What they're saying: "Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it," a spokesperson for Gaetz said in a statement to Politico in response to the latest report.
"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."
- Representatives for Gaetz and the DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.