Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson that allegations that he sex trafficked a 17-year-old are “verifiably false” and named the individual who is allegedly trying to extort him.
The New York Times first reported that the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. In addition to the Justice Department’s investigation, prosecutors are investigating whether the lawmaker broke laws that cover bringing minors across state lines for sex, according to the NYT’s report, published Tuesday.
“It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie,” Gaetz told Carlson on Tuesday evening, just hours after the report was published. “The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case. What is happening is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official.”
Gaetz continued on to name the former DOJ official as “David McGee” and alleged that “he was a top official in the leadership in the northern district of Florida as a prosecutor.” The individual Gaetz named allegedly now works at a law firm, the lawmaker told Carlson. (RELATED: Matt Gaetz Says He Would Resign From Congress In Order To Defend Trump From Impeachment)
“As a matter of fact, one of the recordings that was made at the FBI and Department of Justice’s request occurred at that law firm, and the money that was supposed to be paid today that would have shown even more evidence of David McGee’s work in this extortion scheme, that was foiled by The New York Times story, and I believe that’s why this horrible information and these terrible allegations have been used this evening,” Gaetz said.
The Republican lawmaker also vehemently denied having a relationship with the 17-year-old. He demanded – once again – that the DOJ and FBI release alleged “audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction” that Gaetz said “will prove” his “innocence.”
Tucker continued on to press Gaetz regarding the 17-year-old mentioned in the NYT report, asking who she is, if he had a relationship with her and what the report is “talking about.” Gaetz said “the person doesn’t exist” and reiterated that “records will bear” the story “out to be false.”
Gaetz first responded to the story on Twitter and denied the allegations at that time – prior to his interview with Carlson. He alleged then that he and his family “have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official” and demanded the DOJ release “tapes” proving his claims.
“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,” Gaetz’s original statement reads. “We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.”
“The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation,” he continued. “No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
Carlson called the interview with Gaetz “one of the weirdest” he’s “ever conducted” and said while there’s “always more than you read in the newspaper,” he doesn’t think the segment “clarified much.” McGee also responded to the interview, telling The Daily Beast that Gaetz’s allegations of extortion are “completely, totally false.”
This is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to [be] indicted for sex trafficking underage girls,” McGee said according to The Daily Beast.