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Matt Gaetz accused of paying woman for sex parties as new bombshell texts emerge

The House Ethics Committee’s probe into Matt Gaetz has obtained 2017 texts that the Florida Republican allegedly sent to a young woman who had been paid for sex by his associate.

These messages, ABC News first reported, show Mr Gaetz, just months after he was elected into Congress, asking the unnamed woman to go on a trip with him to the Florida Keys in May 2017. The exchange signifies the first private exchange between the pair, the outlet wrote.

According to the outlet, Mr Gaetz texted, “Hey -- any interest in flying on a private plane to the keys May 19-21?” The then-freshman Congressman added that the trip would feature “2 guys, 4 girls. A very high-quality adventurous group.”

“Yeah I’m in,” the woman replied.

The Florida lawmaker then reportedly wrote: “Fantastic. As is true with all time you spend w me, it’ll be fun and chill…You have a passport?”

ABC News noted that the woman did not ultimately go on this trip.

Mr Gaetz’s then-friend and business associate Joel Greenberg had already sent this same woman money for sex. In May 2021, Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, which include sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

The House panel also obtained a photo of the pair, dated 19 May 2017. The selfie photo allegedly captured the woman beside Mr Gaetz wearing a shirt with a quote from medical research advocate Mary Lasker:”If you think research is expensive, try disease.”

A Gaetz spokesperson told ABC News, “Rep. Gaetz has no knowledge of these activities by Mr. Greenberg and was not involved in them. Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex. Rep. Gaetz does not know anything about the woman you’re referencing, though he takes thousands of selfies each year.”

On top of these bombshell messages, this same woman allegedly informed prosecutors in 2021 that she had sex with Mr Gaetz at a party that she was paid to attend, her lawyer told The Daily Beast. She was reportedly paid to go to “multiple sex parties with people in Gaetz’s circle,” the outlet wrote.

The attorney added that her client told prosecutors that the sex was consensual.

The attorney told the Daily Beast that her client told investigators “that she and lots of girls were provided all kinds of controlled substances at these parties.”

“The availability of vast amounts of alcohol and controlled substances gave rise to the lack of control of the hormonal imperative,” the attorney continued, “which inspired people to engage in intimate behavior that may or may not have been because they were financially remunerated.”

Once the probes into the Florida Republican began, the attorney said, a Gaetz associate — who also attended the parties — allegedly asked if she was speaking to anyone about the Florida lawmaker or the drug-fueled bashes. The woman interpreted this exchange as an intimidation effort so that she wouldn’t share any Gaetz-related information, the lawyer said.

The Independent has reached out to Rep Gaetz’s office for comment.

The Justice Department launched a years-long investigation into Rep Gaetz regarding potential sex-trafficking charges, but did not ultimately bring any charges against the Congressman. After deferring its initial probe to the Justice Department, in July, the House Ethics Committee restarted its probe, and has contacted new witnesses.

“The fact that nothing has come of it has kind of astonished her, who along with all the others had been the focal point of such an intense investigation,” the lawyer told the outlet. “For them to go through all that and then for the target of the investigation to just get a wink and a nod has created for some of them a loss of faith in the system.”

When the investigation was restarted, Mr Gaetz said: “I was cleared by the Department of Justice and the FBI, who looked into my life for years.”

“Now, I believe that the House Ethics Committee is trying to weaponize their process against me because every once in a while up here I’m a rabble-rouser and I don’t go along to get along. And right now, I’m forcing this body to deal with our debt and our spending,” he continued.