Matt Gaetz’s dad says he wore a wire for FBI probe into DOJ extortion claims

Rep Matt Gaetz speaks at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo / John Raoux

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rep. Matt GaetzDon’s father, a former Florida Senate president, said he worked with the FBI and wore a wire more than once during an investigation into an alleged blackmail scheme the couple organized by former federal attorney David McGee.

“The FBI asked me to try to get this information for Matt and a hint that we would transfer money to Mr. David McGee,” Don Gaetz said in an interview late Tuesday, without giving what information he was referring to related.

McGee, who currently works in a private practice with a law firm based in Pensacola, Florida, did not respond to a request from POLITICO for comment, but instead shared it with other media outlets There is no truth about the alleged blackmail.

Don Gaetz said in an interview that he wore a wire during a meeting with McGee earlier this month and was ready to meet with Stephen Alford on Wednesday, a local developer he said was also part of the alleged blackmail program. During that meeting, Don Gaetz said he was again ready to wear a wire and get Alford to talk about payments he was supposed to be making to McGee, but the meeting collapsed when the news came that his son was was investigated by the judiciary department. Alford did not respond to text messages seeking comment.

In separate interviews, Don and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Confirmed an investigation by the Justice Department, in which the younger Gaetz (38) was involved, whether he had an inappropriate involvement in a 17-year-old girl. The Gaetzes say they are the target of a blackmail scheme seeking money to keep the DOJ’s investigation quiet.

The allegations fell when the profile of the younger Gaetz rose. Donald Trump’s devotee rode to prominent and frequent Conservative media appearances during the Trump presidency after being elected to Congress in 2016. While his name is often on lists for higher office, Axios reported this week that Gaetz has been considering leaving Congress to take a job with the conservative Newsmax news agency.

Matt Gaetz denied any involvement in the teenager. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Justice Department was investigating whether lawmakers had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and had paid to travel across state lines with him. He told the Times that he was the subject but not the target of the DOJ investigation.

These acts could violate federal sex trafficking laws, according to The Times, which quoted three people who were briefed on the matter. Gaetz was not accused of any crime.

Then USA. Attorney General William Barr has been briefed on the Gaetz probe and has not questioned it, a source familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Barr and the Attorney General received several pieces of information about the Gaetz probe from summer 2020, announced a second person familiar with the probe. They encouraged Florida prosecutors to act as quickly as necessary and take the appropriate steps. The briefings were in line with Barr’s memo, in which the department management had to be informed of the candidates’ probes. The briefing was important because, among other things, Barr didn’t want to accidentally show up with Gaetz, the person said. At one point, Barr was scheduled to meet Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. But the DOJ canceled its appearance at the event when they saw that Gaetz, a member of that committee, had received an answer for it.

FBI spokeswoman Tina Jagerson declined to comment on the investigation.

Don Gaetz said he had asked his attorney Jeffrey Neiman to keep in touch with David Goldberg, a U.S. assistant attorney for the northern district of Florida. So there is evidence that he is working with the government. Neiman did not immediately respond to an email asking for a comment. Through spokeswoman Andrea Clark, Goldberg declined to comment, citing the office guidelines.

“We cannot confirm or deny the existence or status of an investigation, nor can we comment at this point,” said Clark. “We are pleased that you are in touch and I am sorry that I cannot help you further.”

“I said to the FBI,” I am ready to carry a wire and to be cooperative, “but I was asked to say things that do not apply in order to obtain approval,” Don Gaetz said in an interview. “I wanted it to be agreed in writing that I would work for the FBI and not operate alone at their request.”

For most of his 10 years in the Florida Senate, Don Gaetz was the richest member of the Chamber. His wealth comes from a pioneering role in the hospice industry. In the late 1970s, Gaetz founded Hospice Care Inc., a non-profit hospice facility. He then became a leader in passing the Florida Hospice Licensing Act, which gave nonprofits like the one he founded an early head start over for-profit organizations.

In March 25 emails between Neiman and Goldberg Don Gaetz’s collaboration, which Matt Gaetz shared with POLITICO, was discussed and confirmed.

“I can confirm, at the request of the government, that your client is working with my office and the FBI to determine if a federal crime has been committed,” Goldberg said in an email to Neiman. “This has been discussed with and approved by the FBI as well as the leadership in my office and components of the main justice system.”

“The government thanks you for working with the FBI,” the email concludes.

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