Gaetz, whose congressional district covers the westernmost portion of Florida's panhandle, took to Twitter to refute the allegations, claiming that he and his family have been victims of a former Department of Justice official "seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name".
Gaetz said his family has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and said his father was wearing a recording device, at the FBI's direction, "to catch these criminals". "The planted leak to the FBI tonight was meant to thwart that investigation", he continued. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation.
"And the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did, with the former Department of Justice official", Gaetz continued. "The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences", the news outlet reported.
No charges have been brought against Mr. Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear. The investigation began in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr, according to the report.
The investigation into Gaetz's alleged relationship with the 17-year-old grew from a federal case against a different Florida Republican: Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who was charged last summer with sex trafficking of a child and a medley of other charges. But we've heard that before. "I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward".
"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", he reportedly said.
Because of Gaetz's national profile, senior Justice Department officials, including some appointed by Trump, were reportedly informed of the investigation being opened a year ago. Efforts to reach Gaetz's father were not successful Tuesday night.
Think of it what you will, but be assured, Democrats or their proxies aren't playing beanbag.
It sounds like Gaetz is preparing for war. You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms.