Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz unlikely to be charged in sex-trafficking probe, per report

Career prosecutors say two central witnesses carry too many credibility problems.

click to enlarge Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz - Photo by Dave Decker
Photo by Dave Decker
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz
Federal career prosecutors are not recommending any sex trafficking charges against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, according to The Washington Post.

That likely means Gaetz will not face charges in U.S. District Court related to allegations he transported a minor across state lines. While a final decision has not yet been made by U.S. District Attorneys handling the case, the Post notes that it is rare that career prosecutors ignore such recommendations.

Sources told the Post that any case against Gaetz ultimately relies on witness testimony from two individuals who lack credibility.

For a year and a half, Gaetz has been dogged by accusations he traveled with a 17-year-old in a “sugar daddy-sugar baby” relationship and had sex in exchange for trips, gifts and payments. Venmo records and text messages made public show Gaetz sent money to former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg using Venmo, and Greenberg later sent the same money to different women with messages like “school” or “tuition” listed as purposes.

Greenberg last year pleaded guilty to six federal charges including a charge of sex trafficking a minor. But his sentencing has been repeatedly delayed as Greenberg cooperated with prosecutors on other investigations.

In the plea agreement, Greenberg admitted paying to have sex with a minor and introducing the minor to other adult men, although no names were mentioned. Greenberg requested the subsequent sentencing delays to give him more time to work with federal law enforcement.

The New York Times reported in March 2021 that further investigations could ensnare Gaetz, a friend and close associate of Greenberg’s.

Gaetz has said he regretted his association with Greenberg but has denied ever paying for sex. He also has denied ever having sex with anyone underage as an adult. Since reports of allegations surfaced, Gaetz has married Ginger Luckey, a relationship that predates accusations.

The Congressman has long asserted the allegations were bogus and a premise instead for an extortion plot against his family, including father Don Gaetz, a former Florida Senate President. Stephen Alford was indicted in August 2021 on a wire fraud charge, with prosecutors saying he attempted to defraud an unnamed victim of $25 million between March and April.

This article was first published at Florida Politics.
Scroll to read more Florida News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]