Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) obstructed justice during an alleged three-way phone call he had with a former flame and a witness in an ongoing sex-trafficking probe into the congressman, according to multiple reports.
Politico first reported the potential inquiry into obstruction. CNN later also confirmed that obstruction was part of the Gaetz probe, reporting that investigators apparent concerns over obstruction in the probe dated back to at least last fall.
Two sources familiar with the case reportedly told Politico that the obstruction of justice question came after a phone call that began between a woman identified by Politico as a witness who later spoke with prosecutors in the investigation and Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend.
The congressman joined the alleged phone conversation between his ex-girlfriend and the woman in question, Politico said.
According to Politico, the woman was among a group of women who appear to have become acquainted with Gaetz through Joel Greenberg, the onetime tax collector who pleaded guilty last month to charges that included including sex-trafficking a minor.
The alleged call could be used to help prosecutors weigh whether Gaetz will face charges for potentially obstructing justice, particularly if he suggested that the woman lie or offer misleading testimony.
CNN previously reported that Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend, who has been described as a former Capitol Hill staffer, may be cooperating with prosecutors in the inquiry.
According to Politico sources, the pair had an open relationship that sometimes involved other women, including the woman involved in the alleged call of interest to prosecutors.
The woman on the alleged call also joined Gaetz, his ex-girlfriend, and others on the now infamous Bahamas trip in 2018, Politico said. That trip is also reportedly being examined in the probe to determine whether Gaetz violate sex trafficking laws.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, including obstructing justice or having sex with a minor.
A spokesman for Gaetz, Harlan Hill, said in a statement that allegations against Gaetz thus far in the investigation have amounted to “lies.”
“Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it,” he said in the statement. “The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the ‘story’ is changing yet again.”