2021-03-31 15:39:07 UTC
...after the Florida congressman said allegation that he'd sex trafficked
17-year-old girl was part of $25m extortion by ex-DOJ official
*Fox News ' Tucker Carlson called interview with Rep Matt Gaetz 'weirdest' ever
*New York Times revealed that Gaetz is under investigation for sex trafficking
*During the show, Gaetz denied having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old
girl and paying to have her travel with him
*When asked about alleged relationship, Gaetz said such a person 'doesn't exist'
*However, Gaetz recalled a dinner with Carlson, his wife and 'a friend of mine'
that Carlson said he didn't remember
*After the segment, Carlson said it was one of the 'weirdest interviews' ever
Fox News host Tucker Carlson was stunned by Rep Matt Gaetz's appearance on his
show Tuesday night, calling it one of the 'weirdest interviews' ever.
Gaetz had on Tuesday claimed he is the victim of a $25million extortion plot
after the New York Times revealed he is under investigation for sex trafficking
over allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl, 17, and paid
to have her travel with him. During the interview Gaetz denied all of the
allegations against him.
'It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie,' he told Carlson. 'The New York
Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that
is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is
not the case.'
When asked about the alleged sexual relationship with the teen, Gaetz said such
a person 'doesn't exist'.
However, Gaetz recalled a dinner with Carlson, his wife and 'a friend of mine'
who he said has since been 'threatened' by authorities to 'cop to the fact that
somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme'.
'I can say that actually you and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife
was there and I brought a friend of mine, you will remember her,' he said. 'And
she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn't cop to the
fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme that she could face
trouble and so I do believe that there are people at the Department of Justice
who are trying to smear me.'
In response to that claim, Carlson says: 'I don't remember the women you're
speaking of or the context at all honestly.'
Following the segment, Carlson told his viewers: 'You just saw our Matt Gaetz
interview. That was one of the weirdest interviews Ive ever conducted.'
'That story just appeared in the news a couple of hours ago, and on the
certainty that theres always more than you read in the newspaper, we
immediately called Matt Gaetz and asked him to come on and tell us more. Which,
as you saw, he did. I dont think that clarified much, but it certainly showed
this is a deeply interesting story and well be following it,' Carlson added.
Gaetz, a prominent conservative in Congress and a close ally of former President
Donald Trump, is under investigation to determine if he violated federal sex
The probe has been underway for nearly a year and Gaetz, who represents parts of
western Florida, has been aware for months that he was under investigation, the
person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
The Justice Department has also been looking into whether Gaetz, 38, may have
also been involved in relationships with other underage girls, the person said.
The person could not publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation
and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Gaetz told Axios that his lawyers were informed that he was the subject of an
investigation 'regarding sexual conduct with women' but that he was not a target
of the probe.
He denied that he ever had a relationship with any underage girls and said the
allegations against him were 'as searing as they are false'.
Gaetz's comments came shortly after the Times first reported the investigation.
Gaetz alleged that the allegations were part of an extortion plot by a former
Justice Department official, David McGee.
Gaetz accused McGee live on Carlson's show of trying to extort millions of
dollars out of him and his family in exchange for 'making horrible sex
trafficking allegations against me go away'.
'Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized
criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25million while
threatening to smear my name,' Gaetz said in a statement.
Gaetz said his family has been cooperating with the FBI and said his father was
wearing a recording device, at the FBI's direction, 'to catch these criminals'.
He demanded the Justice Department release the recordings.
'No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these
lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation,' he said.
McGee, an attorney at Beggs & Lane law firm and the former lead attorney for the
DOJ's Organized Crime Task Force, has strongly denied Gaetz's allegations.
He said: 'It is completely false. It's a blatant attempt to distract from the
fact that he's under investigation for sex trafficking of minors.
'I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand
people who have heard the rumors.'
The Times cited three people familiar with the matter, saying the scrutiny on
Gaetz was part of a broader Justice Department probe into one of his political
allies and fellow Florida politician, Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last
summer on sex trafficking and other charges that he stalked a political
A judge ordered the former tax collector back to jail earlier this month for
violating the conditions of his release.
'I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to
criminalize my sexual conduct, you know, when I was a single guy,' Gaetz told
'I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated,' Gaetz
'You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I've been, you know, generous
as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime. The Justice Department did not