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  5. The DOJ will not bring criminal charges against GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking investigation: reports

The DOJ will not bring criminal charges against GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking investigation: reports

Sonam Sheth   

The DOJ will not bring criminal charges against GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking investigation: reports
  • The DOJ will not criminally charge Rep. Matt Gaetz after a years-long sex-trafficking probe, CNN reported.
  • The outlet said DOJ officials told at least one witness' lawyers that prosecutors won't indict Gaetz.

The Justice Department will not indict GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz following a years-long sex-trafficking investigation, CNN and the New York Times reported.

CNN said that DOJ officials told at least one witness' lawyers that prosecutors will not bring charges against Gaetz.

The decision was widely expected; investigators last year recommended that the department not charge the Florida congressman, and top DOJ officials typically take the advice of career prosecutors.

Citing anonymous sources, The Washington Post reported at the time that prosecutors were concerned with the credibility of two key witnesses and think they'd be unlikely to secure a conviction if they indicted Gaetz.

The existence of the investigation first became public in 2021, when The New York Times reported that investigators were examining if Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old in 2019 and paid for her to travel with him.

One person familiar with the conversations told The Times that Gaetz told some women to say that he paid for dinners and hotel rooms as part of their dates if anyone asked about the nature of their relationships.

According to NBC News, prosecutors were examining if the congressman committed three separate crimes: if he sex-trafficked a 17-year-old; if he violated the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose" across state lines; and if he obstructed justice.

The FBI executed a search warrant in late 2020 and seized Gaetz's cell phone, as well as a phone belonging to his former girlfriend, who testified before a federal grand jury earlier this year.

Gaetz has denied wrongdoing and said last year that the allegations were part of an "organized criminal extortion" scheme against him. Last month, the Florida businessman Stephen Alford was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to extort Gaetz and his father for $25 million.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.




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