Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was known in Florida politics for bragging about women he met through a county tax collector who has since been indicted on a federal sex trafficking charge, the Washington Post reported on Friday night.
Two people who heard his comments directly told the Post that the Republican lawmaker also showed off mobile videos of naked or topless women on multiple occasions, including at parties with Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector who is facing the charge on sex trafficking a minor among other offenses. The women appeared to be adults, the people said.
“Matt was never shy about talking about his relationship to Joel and the access to women that Joel provided him,” one of the people told the Post. “What these videos implied was that there was something of a sexual nature going on with everyone.”
The comments come as the Justice Department examines whether Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women in violation of federal sex trafficking laws and whether he had sex with least one girl when she was 17 years old.
The teenage girl, who allegedly had sex with Greenberg, is involved in the former tax collector’s sex trafficking charge, according to The New York Times.
The Times said on Thursday that investigators are exploring whether Gaetz provided anything of material value to the 17-year-old in question. Gaetz is also suspected of making payments to other women for sex, the Time said.
Messages and interviews conducted by the Times revealed that during encounters in 2019 and 2020, Gaetz and Greenberg often directed the women to meet at Florida hotels, and would tell them how much they were willing to pay.
The ties between Gaetz and Greenberg are well-documented.
Gaetz and Greenberg once posed for a photo at the White House and Gaetz has repeatedly tagging him on his Twitter account or retweeting posts with his name. According to CNN, early last year a witness also provided evidence to a local U.S. attorney that allegedly shows Gaetz and Greenberg on surveillance video, looking through driver licenses on a weekend evening at the tax collector’s office. Greenberg faces a separate charge for a fake ID scheme, in addition to a host of other charges. There is no indication that the IDs handled in the video were used unlawfully.
Gaetz who got engaged in December, has repeatedly denied paying anyone for sex.
The Florida Republican responded with a text message statement to the Post on Friday when contacted about the claims that he boasted about meeting women through Greenberg and showed people videos of naked women, among other allegations.
“I have never paid for sex. I have never had sex with an underage person as an adult,” Gaetz wrote. “I have dated women in college and graduate school, and have boasted about how great they are across the board, as boyfriends do. At times women I have dated have joined me at campaign events.”