Jun 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Report: Prosecutors investigating whether Gaetz obstructed justice

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks during an America First rally in Dalton, Georgia, U.S., on Thursday, May 27

Rep. Matt Gaetz during a May rally in Dalton, Georgia. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

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