A self-styled operative who plays a prominent role in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) claims he is being extorted told CNN on Monday that the congressman was using the situation to distract from his sex trafficking investigation.
Bob Kent, a retired Air Force captain who has reportedly devoted the past few years of his life to the hunt for missing FBI agent Robert Levinson in Iran, told CNN that he had not contacted the Gaetz family out of any nefarious motive.
He added that Gaetz was “trying to direct attention from himself” because of the sex trafficking probe, which is reportedly examining Gaetz’s finances and his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year old.
“When I left, the last thing I told Don Gaetz was that you’ll never hear from me again,” Kent told CNN, referring to the congressman’s father. “I’m not a threat to you or your son. I won’t talk to the press. I’m not going to say a bad word about him.”
The Washington Examiner published documents last week which Gaetz claims constitute part of an extortion attempt against him. Those included text messages purportedly from Kent to Don Gaetz, the father of the congressman and a Florida politico and businessman in his own right.
The Examiner also published a document supposedly from Kent and a Florida lawyer named David McGee, a longtime friend of Levinson’s who has spearheaded civil litigation around his return. The documents suggested that Kent knew of the federal criminal sex trafficking probe and also proposed that the Gaetz family provide $25 million as part of an extraction effort for Levinson.
Kent told CNN that “there were no threats. There were no demands.”