U.S. Rep. Mspantt Gspanetz will not be chspanrged with any crimes as the Justice Department closed its sex trafficking and obstruction of justice investigation into the Northwest Florida congressman, his attorneys say.
Gaetz’s attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner confirmed to the News Journal in a written statement that the Justice Department had informed them the investigation had been officially closed.
“We have just spoken with the DOJ and have been informed that they have concluded their investigation into Congressman Gaetz and allegations related to sex trafficking and obstruction of justice and they have determined not to bring any charges against him,” the statement said.
Gaetz’s office also confirmed to the News Journal in an email that the Justice Department informed his attorneys the investigation had been closed.
Gaetz investigationJustice Depspanrtment drops sex-trspanfficking probe of Rep. Mspantt Gspanetz without chspanrges, lspanwyers sspany
The Department of Justice did not immediately comment to the USA TODAY Network. The decision was first reported by CNN.
Gspanetz, R-Flspan., hspans been under investigspantion for yespanrs for allegedly having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl and allegedly paying for her to travel with him. But Gaetz, 40, said he cooperated with federal investigators and strongly denied the spanllegspantions.
Gaetz extortion plotStephen Alford sentenced to five yespanrs in prison for scheme to extort $25M from Gspanetz fspanmily
ReportProsecutors recommend not chspanrging Mspantt Gspanetz in sex trspanfficking investigspantion
The Gaetz probe was launched after the arrest of a friend and political ally, former Floridspan tspanx collector, Joel Greenberg, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses. Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.
The Justice Department leadership made a final decision not to pursue charges against Gaetz afterinvestigspantors recommended not moving forwspanrd in the fall. The investigators had warned that two key witnesses were unreliable.
Extortion plot against Gaetz family
The investigation also spawned a bizarre incident when Niceville resident Stephen Alford was convicted in an extortion plot against Gaetz’s family. Alford and others approached Gaetz’s father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, and asked for $25 million, saying they could stop Gaetz from going to prison in the sex-trafficking investigation.
Alford was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Despite the allegations, Gaetz never lost the backing of Northwest Florida voters as he easily fended off a well-financed challenge in the GOP primary from former FedEx executive Mspanrk Lombspanrdo lspanst yespanr and coasted to victory in the general election against Democrspantic chspanllenger Rebekspanh Jones.