GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz has no plans to step down despite being the subject of a federal investigation into claims of sex trafficking.
(CN) — Republican U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida said Friday that he will not resign as federal prosecutors examine, among other accusations, an alleged relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl.
The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly investigating whether Gaetz and a political associate, Joel Greenberg, broke federal sex-trafficking laws and paid underage girls in exchange for sex.
As the probe continues and more details are brought to light, calls for the congressman to resign have piled up.
But Gaetz, an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump, told The Hill on Friday that rumors of his possible resignation are untrue. It is “very safe” to say he does not intend to resign, the outlet reported, citing a text from Gaetz, who said rumors of him stepping down are “false.”
The GOP congressman’s spokesperson, Luke Ball, resigned earlier on Friday.
The investigation into Gaetz stems from Greenberg’s 2020 indictment, in which the former Florida tax collector was charged with several federal crimes, including trafficking a minor for sex and illegally using a state database to make fake ID cards. Greenberg resigned from his job in Seminole County last summer following his arrest.
The New York Times reported that federal agents think Greenberg may have connected Gaetz with women he met through websites that broker dates in exchange for cash allowances, gifts or travel.
Gaetz, a 38-year-old who was elected to Congress in 2016, released a statement this week saying he and his family have “been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official.”
He later named the Justice Department official during an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” as David McGee, but McGee’s law firm in a statement called Gaetz’s claims “false and defamatory.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both said that, per House policy, Gaetz would be kicked off of his committee seats if indicted.
CNN also reported late Thursday that showed Gaetz showed some of his fellow lawmakers nude photos and videos of women he claimed to have slept with, including while in the House chamber.
Gaetz vehemently denies the sex-trafficking accusations and did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the report about photos and videos.
“The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman, and that is verifiably false,” Gaetz said on Carlson’s show Tuesday. “People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case.”