Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said Tuesday he is under federal investigation for possible sexual misconduct, though he denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of an extortion plot.
The New York Times reported that the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
According to The Times, which cited three people familiar with the matter, the Justice Department opened the investigation at the end of the Trump administration.
Prosecutors are looking into whether Gaetz violated laws against inducing minors across state lines for sex, The Times reported.
Gaetz confirmed that his attorneys have been in contact with the Justice Department regarding the investigation.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz told The Times. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Gaetz provided more details to Axios, saying in an interview that the allegations against him are false.
“The allegations against me are as searing as they are false,” Gaetz said.
“I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know, when I was a single guy.”
“The allegations of sexual misconduct against me are false,” Gaetz added. “They are rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million … in exchange for making this case go away.”
According to Axios, Gaetz has turned over text messages, emails and other documents related to the alleged extortion scheme.
Gaetz and his office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
The investigation is reportedly part of a broader probe into a former Florida official named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last year on charges of sex trafficking.
The Times noted that Greenberg posted a photo on Twitter with Gaetz at the White House on June 22, 2019.
Greenberg was arrested earlier this month after violating the terms of his bond while awaiting federal trial.
Earlier Tuesday, Axios reported that Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, is considering resigning from Congress to take a job at Newsmax, a conservative TV network.
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