Federal prosecutors may have a second cooperating witness as they intensify their investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who allegedly engaged in sexual trafficking of an underage girl by taking her across state lines, according to a report from Politico:
“Matt Gaetz’s former girlfriend has told friendsshe’s worried that the woman who is key to the federal government’s sex-crimes investigation tried to get her to incriminate the Florida lawmaker on a recorded call.
“The revelation raises the possibility that federal prosecutors have two top cooperating witnesses: the woman who was an alleged sex-trafficking victim when she was a minor and the Gaetz associate already indicted for that crime, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg.”
If indeed the alleged victim is cooperating with the Department of Justice, it would strengthen the case that’s being built against the Florida congressman, who continues to maintain that he did nothing wrong and insists that he will exonerated once the investigation is completed.
The former girlfriend may have decided to talk to investigators because they threatened to charge her with obstruction if she didn’t, Politico notes.
Of particular interest to DOJ prosecutors is a trip Gaetz allegedly took with the underage girl to the Bahamas. If it can be proven that Gaetz traveled out of the country for the purposes of engaging in prostitution, that would be violation of the Mann Act. Criminal penalties under the Mann Act include 10 years in prison for each offense.
Sources told Politico that the congressman’s former girlfriend is indeed talking to the DOJ as part of their probe of Gaetz:
“A source familiar with the investigation wouldn’t say whether the alleged victim was cooperating with authorities. But when asked if she has been talking for months with the federal government, the source said ‘100 percent.'”
So far, House GOP leaders have refused to take any action against Gaetz. But an indictment of the Florida Republican could well force their hand and lead to Gaetz being expelled from Congress.
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