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Gaetz’s Accused Extorter Confirms, Denies $25 Million Shakedown

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The man Rep. Matt Gaetz has accused of trying to extort millions from his family—and blamed for recent allegations of sexual improprieties—admitted in a bizarre interview Monday to asking the Florida Republican’s dad to finance an international plot to “rescue” an American citizen widely believed to be dead in Iran.

Air Force veteran and “research consultant” Bob Kent verified to Sirius Radio personality Michael Smerconish that he had approached Gaetz’s deep-pocketed father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, last month seeking a $25 million loan. The funds would ransom the release of Robert Levinson, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago. Levinson’s own family believes him to be dead, but Kent has insisted he has evidence he is alive and remains a hostage of the Islamic Republic, even though credible experts have dismissed his claims.

Kent said that he was aware of the time that Gaetz might have “legal issues,” and suggested that assisting in the mission would create “good will” toward the congressman. Though he didn’t say it outright, those issues seem to be the recently surfaced claims the lawmaker paid women for sex—including, possibly, an underage girl—and misused campaign funds.

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