Rep. Matt Gaetz’s legislative director resigned from his post last week, the second high-profile staffer to quit the embattled congressman’s office in recent days, as the Florida Republican faces a federal probe into sex trafficking allegations.
Legislative director Devin Murphy — who has worked for Gaetz since 2017 — resigned last Friday, he confirmed to Forbes in an electronic message (the New York Times was first to report Murphy’s departure on Thursday).
Murphy’s resignation came on the same day that Gaetz’s communications director, Luke Ball, also quit his job.
Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Times reported that Murphy said he left because he’s interested in drafting bills, not working at TMZ, in what appeared to be an implicit dig at Gaetz’ often bombastic media strategy. Murphy told Forbes he doesn’t recall using those words, but said the sentiment was generally accurate.
Gaetz is grappling with several serious allegations, all of which he’s fervently denied. Federal investigators are probing whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who he paid to travel with him across state lines, violating child sex trafficking laws, the New York Times and other outlets reported last week (the Department of Justice has not charged Gaetz with a crime or accused him of breaking the law). The inquiry dates back to the Trump administration, and is linked to sex trafficking charges against Joel Greenberg, a disgraced former Florida county official and friend of Gaetz’s who indicated Thursday he might cooperate with prosecutors and agree to a plea deal. Gaetz has repeatedly denied these allegations, instead claiming he and his father are victims of an extortion scheme.
Gaetz’s office on Thursday sent out a statement said to be from female staffers defending the congressman’s conduct and denying all allegations against him. The letter was unsigned, but Gaetz spokesperson Joel Valdez told Forbes all of the office’s eight female aides agreed to it. Their defense comes as Gaetz deals with accusations of inappropriate behavior at work. He’s reportedly shown other members of Congress nude photos of women he claimed to have slept with, and when he was in the Florida legislature, he reportedly participated in a points-based game that scored lawmakers’ sexual partners.