WASHINGTON – Rep. Matt Gaetz repeatedly boasted to people involved in Florida politics about women he met through a county tax collector who has since been charged by federal authorities with sex trafficking of a minor, according to two people who heard his comments directly.
They said the Republican congressman, first elected in 2016, also showed them videos on his phone of naked or topless women on multiple occasions, including at parties with Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County. The women appeared to be adults, and could be seen dancing, hanging out by a pool and, in one case, using a hula hoop without clothing, the people said.
“Matt was never shy about talking about his relationship to Joel and the access to women that Joel provided him,” said one of these people who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “What these videos implied was that there was something of a sexual nature going on with everyone.”
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz, whose loyalty to former president Donald Trump and frequent cable news appearances has endeared him to many conservatives, paid for sex with a number of women in violation of federal sex-trafficking laws, a person familiar with the matter said. The investigation began while Trump was in office and proceeded with the approval of his attorney general.
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime. Such cases can be complicated, and potential crimes involving the solicitation of sex are typically investigated by state authorities.
Federal law enforcement officials suspect that Greenberg procured a number of women for Gaetz and are exploring whether they sometimes shared sexual partners, including at least one girl who was 17 years old at the time of the alleged encounter, a person familiar with the matter said.