Matt Gaetz with hands pointing at him

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Matt Gaetz says no one has accused him of ‘any wrongdoing, of any kind’ despite ethics probe into sex trafficking allegations

Gaetz has denied allegations that he sex trafficked a 17-year-old girl.

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

Posted on May 7, 2024

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is coming under fire from critics online after claiming no person has publicly accused him “of any wrongdoing, of any kind.”

Gaetz’s comments came during a Tuesday interview with CNN in which he responded to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) claim that Gaetz pushed to oust him “to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old.”

The Justice Department decided not to charge Gaetz last year after a lengthy investigation into allegations that he sex trafficked a 17-year-old girl. A former associate of Gaetz’s pleaded guilty in 2021 to charges related to sex trafficking and wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with investigators as part of a plea agreement.

Gaetz has denied the allegations.

While a federal investigation no longer looms, a House Ethics Committee probe is still being conducted to look into allegations that Gaetz, among other things, “engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use and accepted impermissible gifts under House rules.”

But during his interview Monday, Gaetz argued that despite being “the most investigated man in Congress,” he’s never been publicly accused of wrongdoing.

“There’s not a single human being who has publicly accused me of any wrongdoing, of any kind,” Gaetz said. “And like, at what point after these things have been said about me for years and years and not a single person has even accused me of wrongdoing, does this sort of become a strange urban legend?”

Although the 17-year-old girl who the sex trafficking allegations center around hasn’t been publicly named, Gaetz has certainly been publicly accused of wrongdoing by others.

In addition to McCarthy’s claims that Gaetz asked for an illegal favor in making the ethics probe go away, the convicted ex-associate of Gaetz’s—Joel Greenberg—told investigators he witnessed Gaetz have sex with the minor.

A spokesperson for Gaetz dismissed Greenberg’s claims in 2021, noting that Greenberg appears to have “falsely accused another man of sex with a minor for his own gain.”

Gaetz’s interview was derided by critics online, many of whom were quick to reference the ongoing ethics probe that seems to run counter to the idea that Gaetz has never been accused of wrongdoing.

“Didn’t he sex traffic an underage girl?” one response that garnered more than 1,000 likes reads.

“‘Publicly’ is doing some pretty heavy lifting here,” remarked another Democratic X user.

“All of his accusers are married?!!” joked someone else of Gaetz’s “single human being” comment.

“I vaguely remember a guy named Joel Greenberg…” quipped another person.

Someone else responded that “Gaetz should not be tooting his horn” and additionally referenced Gaetz’s 2008 DUI arrest. (Gaetz was not convicted and the arresting officer resigned amid allegations of infractions, including use of excessive force against a separate DUI suspect.)

Jested another Democratic poster: “This is actually true. A single human being has not publicly accused Matt Gaetz of any wrongdoing. Millions have.”


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*First Published: May 7, 2024, 12:53 pm CDT