Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, is under investigation for allegations of sex trafficking while on a trip to the Bahamas.
News reports say that Gaetz allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old who he paid to travel with him, which many federal laws say is illegal. Additionally, he and former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg are also being investigated for allegedly paying women for sex.
It is illegal to pay someone under 18—whether it is money or something of value—to cross state lines and engage in sexual activities.
In response to the probe, a spokesperson for Gates’ office told CBS News, “The congressman has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl.”
“What began with blaring headlines about sex trafficking has now turned into a general phishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults,” the spokesperson added.
According to the New York Times, Gaetz claims the investigation into the “false sex allegations” is only used to extort him and his family for $25 million. He claimed that while he and his father were “wearing a wire” in cooperation with the FBI, some people approached them who said they could make the investigation “go away.”
The New York Times also reports that Gaetz has no plans to resign his House seat. He has also denied having a romantic relationship with a minor. “It is verifiably false that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman,” he said.
On Monday, Gaetz wrote on The Washington Examiner, “Since I’m taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly. First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”