WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A former staffer for Rep. Matt Gaetz met with the media Monday in Santa Rosa Beach to talk about "a recent encounter with the FBI."
Retired Air Force Capt. Nathan Nelson, Rep. Gaetz's former military affairs director, said the FBI had been to his house to question him about allegations surrounding Gaetz.
Nelson said the agents suggested he might have resigned from his position because he might have had knowledge of the congressman's alleged engagements in illegal activities.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," Nelson said.
Nelson said neither himself nor anyone else who worked for Gaetz staff knows anything about illegal activities the congressman is accused of. Nelson said his departure from Gaetz's staff was planned.
"This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated," Nelson said. "It's merely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative."
Nelson said he wasn't there to give evidence to support the congressman, but he was there to discredit "baseless allegations."
The Republican congressman has recently come under national scrutiny as federal investigators continue their probe of Gaetz, which the New York Times reports is looking into his potential involvement with women who may have been recruited for sex and given cash payments.
The Times says investigators believe indicted former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg met the women on websites that "connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances," citing three people familiar with the matter. Greenberg then would introduce women to Gaetz, and he would have sex with them, the Times reported.
The Times says it received receipts from different cash payment apps that appear to show payments from both Greenberg and Gaetz to a woman and another payment from Greenberg to a second woman. The women reportedly told friends the payments were for sex, the Times said, citing people familiar with the conversations.
Earlier this week, the Times was the first to report the Justice Department was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him.
Gaetz has denied all the accusations against him. And, as of Monday, he had not been charged with any crimes.
In an interview this week with Axios, Gaetz confirmed he has learned he is under federal investigation and fears criminal charges could eventually be filed against him. Still, he says the allegations are untrue.
"The allegations against me are as searing as they are false," Gaetz told Axios in a brief phone interview. "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."
Gaetz also tweeted last week, alleging he and his family "have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name."
You can watch the press conference here:
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