Updated Feb 15, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DOJ won't charge Gaetz in sex trafficking probe, his lawyers say

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (R) chats with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) (L) at the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) at the the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 7. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Justice Department will not bring charges against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) over sex trafficking allegations, his attorneys said Wednesday.

Driving the news: "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," Gaetz’s lawyers Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said in a statement.

  • Gaetz's office also confirmed to Axios that the DOJ told the lawmaker's attorneys that the investigation has concluded and that Gaetz will not be charged with any crimes.
  • Axios has reached out to the Department of Justice for comment.

The big picture: Prosecutors have been investigating Gaetz over allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations.

  • In 2022, Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Gaetz, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes.
  • Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, was a central figure in the investigation into federal sex crimes involving Gaetz.
  • CNN first reported on the DOJ's decision.

Zoom out: Career prosecutors in September recommended against charging Gaetz in the ongoing sex trafficking probe, telling DOJ superiors that a conviction against the lawmaker was unlikely, the Washington Post previously reported.

  • The prosecutors said a conviction was unlikely largely due to questions over the credibility of two main witnesses, per the Post.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional background.

Go deeper