Prosecutors will not recommend charging GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz with sex trafficking, The Washington Post reported.
Sources told The Post investigators have concerns about the credibility of two key witnesses.
Gaetz has been under investigation since at least 2020 and could still be charged if new evidence emerges.
Prosecutors will not recommend charging GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz in the Justice Department’s investigation into if the Florida congressman violated federal sex-trafficking laws, according to The Washington Post.
Citing anonymous sources, The Post reported that prosecutors were concerned with the credibility of two key witnesses and think they’d be unlikely to secure a conviction if they indicted Gaetz. Justice Department officials typically take the advice of career prosecutors but haven’t made a final decision on the matter yet, the report said.
The Justice Department has been investigating Gaetz since the summer of 2020.
According to NBC News, prosecutors were examining if the congressman committed three separate crimes: if he sex-trafficked a 17-year-old; if he violated the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose” across state lines; and if he obstructed justice.
The existence of the investigation first became public last year, when The New York Times reported that investigators were examining if Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old in 2019 and paid for her to travel with him.
One person familiar with the conversations told The Times that Gaetz told some women to say that he paid for dinners and hotel rooms as part of their dates if anyone asked about the nature of their relationships.
The FBI executed a search warrant in late 2020 and seized Gaetz’s cell phone, as well as a phone belonging to his former girlfriend, who testified before a federal grand jury earlier this year.
Gaetz has denied wrongdoing and said last year that the allegations were part of an “organized criminal extortion” scheme against him. Last month, the Florida businessman Stephen Alford was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to extort Gaetz and his father for $25 million.
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