Matt Gaetz Investigation—Everything We Know So Far

Florida congressman Matt Gaetz has denied having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and made counter allegations that the investigation is part of a wider extortion plot against him.

The New York Times first reported that the Justice Department is investigating Gaetz over allegations he had sex with a teenage girl and paid for her to travel with him, including over state lines.

Gaetz is alleged to have met the 17-year-old girl around two years ago. No charges have been brought forward and the extent of the investigation into him is unknown.

The investigation into Gaetz was said to have opened in the final few months of the Donald Trump administration under then-Attorney General Bill Barr. A number of senior Justice Department officials—including some appointed by Trump—were aware of the investigation, reported The Times.

Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, The Times reporter Katie Benner, who worked on the Gaetz story, said the timeline of the investigation into him should be taken into account when mentioning the congressman's counter-claims.

"We found that this investigation began at the end of last summer and it's been going on for more than six months, so this is a serious investigation" Benner said.

"I'm not saying that the extortion claims that he's making are untrue, I'm just saying that it came on the heels of months and months of investigation."

The congressman has strongly denied the allegations against him, and claimed someone actually used the knowledge of it to attempt a wider multi-million dollar extortion plot which his family has also been roped into.

"Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name," Gaetz tweeted.

"We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI's direction to catch these criminals."

Gaetz told The Times that the scheme involving "false sex allegations" to extort him and his family for $25 million had began earlier in March.

The Times said the investigation into Gaetz is part of a larger probe into Joel Greenberg, a Florida official and political ally of Gaetz who is due to stand trial in June over charges including sex trafficking of a child.

Greenberg posted a picture of himself visiting the White House accompanied by Gaetz on Twitter in 2019.

Gaetz claimed the revealing of the sex trafficking inquiry is part of a plan to prevent an investigation into the extortion plot.

"No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation," Gaetz added.

"I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations."

Benner suggested that the reason why Gaetz has disclosed details of an FBI investigation was that he is trying to get people "to not pay attention to the fact that the Trump administration" felt it was worthy to investigate the allegations against him.

"In publicly talking about the extortion plot that he has described, and publicly saying his father wore a wire, he is basically destroying and blowing up the FBI investigation, which in it itself is something you would think would be against his own interest," she said.

"You would think that he would be wanting to work with the FBI and would want to keep this quiet."

The DoJ has been contacted for comment.

Matt Gaetz
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) arrives for a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. Gaetz denied that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl amid new reports the Justice Department was investigating. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts