Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC22) in Orlando, Florida, on February 26, 2022. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 23 (UPI) — Justice Department prosecutors have recommended against charging Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., amid a federal sex-trafficking investigation, reports said Friday.
The prosecutors said that a conviction would be likely and raised credibility concerns of two central witnesses, his former close friend Joel Greenberg and an ex-girlfriend, sources told the Washington Post and CNN.
The Justice Department has not yet made its final decision whether to charge Gaetz, who faces reelection in November, sources told the outlets.
“Those who told lies about Rep. Matt Gaetz are going to prison, and Rep. Matt Gaetz is going back to Congress to continue fighting for America,” a spokesman for Gaetz told CNN.
Gaetz, 40, has been under investigation since 2020 on allegations that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl. The congressman has denied any wrongdoing.
Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County in Florida, pleaded guilty last year six charges including sex trafficking of a minor under a deal to cooperate with prosecutors. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
One of the crimes Greenberg admitted to involved sending letters falsely accusing a schoolteacher running against him for tax collector of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.
“Nobody’s going to believe anything that Joel Greenberg says by itself. His statements would need to be corroborated by testimony or evidence,” David Bear, a lawyer for the schoolteacher, told the Washington Post on Friday.
However, former White House aide John McEntee told the House select committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, that Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon from former President Donald Trump which he believed to be in the context of the Justice Department probe.
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