A former Department of Justice attorney denied Tuesday that he is extorting Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
David McGee, a Florida-based lawyer, told the Daily Beast that Gaetz’s extortion allegations are “completely, totally false.” Gaetz claimed in a tweet thread and on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that he and his family are being extorted for $25 million in connection with a federal investigation into sex trafficking.
“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,” he tweeted Tuesday.
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.
We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter…
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
“His name is David McGee. He was a top official in the leadership in the Northern District of Florida as a prosecutor,” Gaetz told Carlson of the lawyer allegedly extorting him.
McGee is a partner at the Pensacola, Florida, law firm Beggs & Lane, where he practices both criminal and civil litigation. He previously served as the First Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office and as the Lead Attorney for a United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Task Force, according to his firm biography.
McGee said the extortion allegations were a “a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls,” according to The Daily Beast.
The Department of Justice is investigating whether or Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, the New York Times (NYT) reported Tuesday. Prosecutors are also looking into whether Gaetz violated laws against inducing people under 18 years old to cross state lines for sex, according to the NYT. (RELATED: Rep. Matt Gaetz Says He Is Subject Of Sex Investigation, But Claims He’s The Target Of An Extortion Plot)
NYT reporter Katie Benner told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that while Gaetz may be the victim of an extortion plot, she stands by her reporting on the DOJ’s investigation.
Here’s the full interview with the NYT’s Katie Benner: pic.twitter.com/Hr2rB96pIg
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 31, 2021
“The most important thing to do is to look at the timeline in this investigation. What we found is that this investigation began at the end of last summer, and it’s been going on for more than six months. So this is a serious investigation, that was serious enough that even the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the Office of the Attorney General, Bill Barr, said that it should continue,” Benner said.
The extortion claims “came on the heels of months and months of investigation, in a part of the country where the offices are very small, and there should be some expectation that information does sometimes leak out of these offices,” she continued.
Gaetz is reportedly considering leaving Congress to work at Newsmax when his term ends in 2023.