Politico

Gaetz's ex-girlfriend seen entering federal courthouse where grand jury probing congressman convenes, according to reports


TALLAHASSEE — The ex-girlfriend of Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is also a witness in the ongoing federal probe into the Republican Florida congressman, was seen entering a federal courthouse in Orlando on Wednesday where a grand jury has been meeting, according to two news reports.

The new revelation, including that the ex-girlfriend testified to a federal grand jury, was first reported by NBC News. A key witness providing testimony in an ongoing federal investigation indicates that the Justice Department could be moving closer to indicting the three-term congressman in its long-running investigation into whether he committed sex crimes and obstruction of justice.

Spotting Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend along with her attorney at the Orlando federal courthouse is the clearest sign yet that the woman, whom POLITICO is not naming to protect her privacy, is working with federal investigators. For months, Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend has been trying to secure an immunity deal, which could come if she cooperated with an investigation into whether the Florida congressman had sex with a 17-year-old for money in 2017.

Tim Jansen, the attorney for the ex-girlfriend, told POLITICO “no comment” when reached by text on Wednesday about the news reports.

Gaetz has not been charged with a crime, and has consistently denied any wrongdoing. When reached by POLITICO on Wednesday, he replied: “Same nonsense. Same answer.”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department in Washington declined to comment.

The testimony of his ex-girlfriend, who was with Gaetz in 2017 and 2018, has long been considered a potentially key element in the federal probe into Gaetz and several other men. In April, POLITICO reported that she was concerned that the 17-year-old alleged victim and one of her friends recorded a phone call between the three, which could leave the ex-girlfriend open to obstruction charges because she said she did not want to talk to federal authorities.

Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend also joined him on a 2018 trip to the Bahamas that has also been the subject of federal investigators. Also on the trip were former Florida Rep. Halsey Beshears, GOP fundraiser and hand surgeon Jason Pirozzolo and five young women.

The underlying investigation began when former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, who was a close friend and “wingman” of Gaetz, was charged with a bevy of public corruption and sex trafficking charges. Greenberg originally faced 33 criminal counts, but prosecutors dropped the charges to six in exchange for his cooperation. Greenberg pleaded guilty to the remaining charges in May and is working with investigators.

Geatz was pulled into the probe as federal investigators expanded their investigation into Greenberg, who introduced women to Gaetz for “sugar daddy” relationships he often found on the SeekingArrangement website.

Greenberg was facing at least 12 years in prison at the time of his guilty plea.

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