Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-old-girl, according to a report.
The Republican, who represents Florida’s First Congressional District, is being investigated over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, The New York Times reported, citing three people “who were briefed on the matter.”
According to the newspaper, the Justice Department is trying to determine if Gaetz, 38, also paid for the teen to travel with him. It is unclear how Gaetz met the girl about two years ago, two of the sources told the Times.
The investigation was opened during the final months of President Donald Trump’s administration under Attorney General William Barr, the newspaper reported.
The Times reported that the examination of Gaetz was part of a broader investigation into Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County in Central Florida, according to the Times.
No charges have been brought against Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear, the newspaper reported.
In an interview, Gaetz said his lawyers had been in contact with the Justice Department. Gaetz said his lawyers were told that the congressman was the subject, and not the target, of an investigation, the Times reported.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz said. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment, the Times reported. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Central Florida also refused comment.
Greenberg pleaded not guilty last year and was jailed earlier this month for violating the terms of his bail. He is scheduled to go on trial in June in Orlando.
Gaetz was first elected to Congress in 2016.
Cox Media Group