Prosecutors Reportedly Looking Into Obstruction Of Justice By Gaetz in Sex Crime Probe Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., makes his way to a House Republicans caucus meeting in Washington on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP)
By Cathy Burke | Thursday, 03 June 2021 12:22 PM
Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., obstructed justice during a phone call he had with a female witness in the sex-crimes probe of the lawmaker.
According to Politico, which first reported the development Wednesday, Gaetz knew the woman through former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg — who pleaded guilty last month to crimes including sex-trafficking a 17-year-old in 2017.
Politico, citing unnamed sources, reported the inquiry stems from a phone call the woman had with Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend, and which she patched Gaetz into.
It's illegal to suggest a witness in a criminal case lie or give misleading testimony.
It’s not known what transpired on the call; Politico reported the female witness later spoke with prosecutors.
Meanwhile, CNN reported Thursday that federal investigators' concerns over efforts to obstruct the probe date back to at least last fall, when the investigation into Gaetz wasn’t yet made public.
Citing an unnamed source, CNN said investigators have been told about Gaetz and an associate discussing a plan to talk with Gaetz's ex-girlfriend in October 2020 about the ongoing sex crimes investigation.
Investigators have also been provided material about the alleged discussion, CNN reported.
Last month, CNN also reported Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend was cooperating with federal authorities in their probe into the lawmaker’s alleged involvement in sex trafficking and a sexual relationship with a minor.
Gaetz has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing in the case.
A Gaetz spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill Thursday that “Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it."
"The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ [Department of Justice] official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the 'story' is changing yet again," the spokesperson said.
"Rep. Gaetz's legal team continues to investigate the attempted extortion of a sitting U.S. Congressman and anyone who may be connected to it," the spokesperson continued.
In a series of tweets March 30, Gaetz said he was the victim of “an organized criminal extortion” involving a former Justice Department official in a response to a New York Times report that he had been traveling and having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
“Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” Gaetz tweeted.
“No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,” he added.
In an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Gaetz also vehemently denied the allegation, saying it was "verifiably false" and has potential "connections inside the Biden White House" to a possible pay-for-play "extortion scheme.”
"It is a horrible allegation, and it is a lie," he told the news outlet, saying the women he has traveled with were of legal age and he was paying for their travel and not for their company.