House Ethics Committee opens investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation of Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, citing reports of sexual and other misconduct.
In a statement on Friday, the committee said it has begun the investigation and will gather additional information about the allegations, reported the Associated Press.
“The committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct,” said Chairman Rep. Ted Deutsch, D-Fla., and ranking Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana.
Gaetz has hired two prominent New York attorneys as he faces a Justice Department investigation into allegations of sex trafficking involving underage girls, reported AP.
A spokesperson for Gaetz said Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner will be leading his legal team.
“Matt has always been a fighter. A fighter for his constituents, a fighter for the country, and a fighter for the Constitution. He’s going to fight back against the unfounded allegations against him,” the statement said, adding that the lawyers “will take the fight to those trying to smear his name with falsehoods.”
Gaetz said he plans to keep his seat and has denied any wrongdoing. So far, he has not been charged with a crime.
On Thursday, it was revealed that one of Gaetz’s associates, Joel Greenberg, is working a plea deal in a Florida court, which could open the door for his cooperation against Gaetz.
Prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex, reported AP.
On Friday, Greenberg entered a not guilty plea on Friday to a variety of charges ranging from child sex trafficking to fraud. A judge has set a deadline of May 15 for Greenberg to reach a plea deal, reported AP.
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