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Matt Gaetz's father says the FBI is investigating an alleged extortion scheme and that he wore a wire as part of the probe

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 31 Mar 2021

<p><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/6059908a0d155e0019ef61db-2400/GettyImages-1227829537.jpg" border="0" alt="matt gaetz" data-mce-source="Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz" data-link="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/rep-matt-gaetz-r-fl-speaks-during-the-house-judiciary-news-photo/1227829537'adppopup=true"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz's father, Don, <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2021/03/31/gaetzs-father-backs-up-son-matts-claims-of-extortion-over-doj-probe-of-involvement-with-teen-1370695" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told Politico</a> on Wednesday that he's working with the FBI as it investigates an alleged scheme to extort the Gaetz family.</p><p>During the interview, Don Gaetz appeared to back up many of the claims his son made on Tuesday, after The New York Times reported that the Justice Department was investigating whether Matt Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and broke federal sex trafficking laws.</p><p>The younger Gaetz wrote on Twitter that "no part of the allegations" at the heart of the DOJ's sex probe were true and that "the people pushing these lies" were engaged in an "organized criminal extortion" scheme against his family.</p><p>During a Fox News interview later that night, Gaetz told the host that the person behind the alleged scheme was David McGee, a former DOJ official who now works at the law firm Beggs &amp; Lane. He added that he and his father were cooperating with the FBI as it investigated the matter, and that his father wore a wire as part of the inquiry.</p><p>On Wednesday, Don Gaetz also told Politico McGee was behind the scheme and that he wore a wire more than once, including earlier this month when he met with McGee. The elder Gaetz also said he was going to meet Wednesday with Stephen Alford, a Florida developer who Gaetz says was also involved in the alleged plot to extort the family.</p><p>McGee told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Gaetz's claims were "totally false," and did not respond to Politico's request for comment.</p><p>Gaetz also claimed on Tuesday that his father got a text message on March 16 "demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away." He also said the bureau was in possession of audio recordings that would prove his innocence and demanded that they be released.</p><p>The Florida lawmaker's revelation of an apparent FBI investigation was highly unusual given that the bureau typically keeps its inquiries under tight wraps to avoid tipping off targets.</p><p>Katie Benner, one of the Times reporters who broke the story about the DOJ's sex probe, also told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that the investigation was launched late last summermonths before when Gaetz said his father was first contacted as part of the alleged extortion scheme.</p><p>The timeline doesn't necessarily mean Gaetz's claims of an extortion scheme are untrue, but it does indicate the department's probe was not launched as a result of any such scheme.</p><p>"One can be guilty of a crime and still be shaken down to, theoretically, make the investigation go away," said Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ.</p><p>Then Attorney General William Barr and senior Trump appointees at the DOJ were also aware of the Gaetz sex probe when it was launched, which would appear to contradict Gaetz's claim that he was targeted because he is an "outspoken conservative."</p><p>Gaetz's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p><p><em>This story is breaking. Check back for updates.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/matt-gaetz-father-confirms-statements-fbi-extortion-probe-report-2021-3#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-its-like-to-do-your-own-taxes-for-the-very-first-time-2018-2">July 15 is Tax Dayhere's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time</a></p>
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