The Department of Justice has elected not to press charges against Rep. Matt Gaetz after a years-long sex-trafficking probe, according to a CNN source familiar with the subject. In late 2020, during the Trump administration, investigators set out to determine whether or not the Florida Republican had violated federal law, examining what the Washington Post described as his “dealings with [a] then-17-year-old.”
BREAKING: DOJ formally decides not to charge Congressman Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe. Prosecutors have been informing witnesses today of final decision by DOJ leadership after investigators recommended not moving forward back in the fall. More to come on @CNN
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCNN) February 15, 2023
This decision won’t be surprising for most. Last year, career DOJ prosecutors recommended to their bosses that charges not be brought against Gaetz, citing credibility issues with two key witnesses, according to the Post. As I explained at the time:
Gaetz has denied wrongdoing, asserting that’s he has never “paid for sex” and has never been involved with anyone underage. Earlier this year, during testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, a former Trump aide alleged that Gaetz had sought a preemptive pardon from Donald Trump, who Gaetz has vocally supported over the years.
According to the Post, the two witnesses in question are Gaetz’ former friend and ex-tax collector Joel Greenberg and the then-underaged girl. Last year, Greenberg pleaded guilty to child trafficking charges as well as other criminal charges. Legal experts said that establishing Greenberg’s credibility would be an uphill battle for prosecutors, in part because Greenberg previously admitted to fabricating similar allegations against a political opponent.