Gaetz probed on alleged payments for sex and taking ecstasy, said to share pics on House floor

"Some of the men and women took ecstasy ... before having sex, including Mr. Gaetz," two sources told N.Y. Times

Published April 2, 2021 12:28PM (EDT)

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Emerging reports are shining greater light onto the alleged sexual misconduct of Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and Trump loyalist, following an explosive initial report from the New York Times on Tuesday. That first story revealed that the Department of Justice was investigating Gaetz over an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz has denied those allegations and instead claimed that he and his family were victims of an elaborate extortion plot. 

A report from CNN, published on Thursday night, quoted unnamed sources claiming that Gaetz had shared photos and videos of naked women, with whom he had purportedly had sex, with colleagues on the House floor.

Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN, including while on the House floor. The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.

Another source told CNN that it was "a point of pride" for Gaetz to show the photos to fellow members of Congress. The report also noted that the congressman is further being investigated over "whether his involvement with other young women broke federal sex trafficking and prostitution laws."

The bad news for Gaetz — until recently viewed as a rising Republican star, closely tied to former President Trump — didn't stop there on Thursday. Later in the evening, The New York Times released a report suggesting that Gaetz may have paid women for sex using the mobile payment platforms, CashApp and ApplePay: 

A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times. Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel, and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said.

Receipts reviewed by The Times reportedly showed that both Greenberg and Gaetz had sent payments to at least one woman during the period of these alleged encounters in 2019 and 2020, and that Greenberg had sent a payment to a second woman. "The women told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two people familiar with the conversations," The Times further reported. According to one source, Gaetz took ecstasy before one such sexual encounter. 

In a peculiar statement that repeated Gaetz's full name four times, the congressman's office denied all the allegations reported so far. "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex," a statement given to the Times read. "Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life."

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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