Politics|Chief Witness Towards Gaetz Is Cooperating With Home Ethics Investigation
A lawyer for the chief witness in opposition to Consultant Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, stated on Friday that the witness was cooperating with a Home Ethics Committee investigation into whether or not Mr. Gaetz had intercourse with an underage lady whereas he was serving in Congress.
Fritz Scheller, a lawyer for Mr. Gaetz’s former pal and political ally Joel Greenberg, stated he supplied paperwork to the committee associated to claims Mr. Greenberg has made about Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Greenberg beforehand advised federal investigators that he had witnessed Mr. Gaetz having intercourse with a 17-year-old lady.
“Mr. Greenberg has and can cooperate with any congressional request,” Mr. Scheller stated in an electronic mail on Friday.
Mr. Greenberg, who pleaded guilty in May 2021 to prices together with intercourse trafficking, is serving an 11-year jail sentence. He had beforehand cooperated with a Justice Division investigation into whether or not Mr. Gaetz had engaged in intercourse trafficking of a minor, a federal offense that carries a minimal of 10 years in jail.
Final 12 months, the Justice Division quietly closed the inquiry into Mr. Gaetz after investigators concluded they might not make a powerful sufficient case in opposition to him in courtroom, individuals accustomed to the matter stated.
Mr. Scheller stated the paperwork he handed over to Congress got here in response to a request from the Home Ethics Committee.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Gaetz, Jillian L. Wyant, stated on Friday that the Justice Division had obtained the identical materials as that despatched to the Ethics Committee and “deemed it unreliable and declined to press prices.” The information media, she added, “shouldn’t be laundering smears from individuals in jail.”
It’s unclear how helpful the paperwork can be to the committee, which started its investigation into Mr. Gaetz a number of months in the past, after concluding one into George Santos, the previous New York consultant who had fabricated massive parts of his background as he ran for Congress. The House expelled Mr. Santos late final 12 months, after the committee launched its report.
The investigation of Mr. Gaetz has been sluggish transferring as investigators have been despatched a spread of ideas. Mr. Gaetz has claimed that the inquiry is in retaliation in opposition to him for taking the lead in ousting Kevin McCarthy as Home speaker.
The Justice Division’s choice to not prosecute Mr. Gaetz got here two months after Mr. Greenberg was sentenced to jail. Mr. Scheller stated on the time that the Justice Division’s choice proved that the nation had “two techniques” — one which favors politicians like Mr. Gaetz and penalizes those that are much less highly effective, like Mr. Greenberg.
“Why prosecute the privileged when defendants of restricted culpability present ample cannon fodder?” Mr. Scheller stated then.