Female Staffers Defend Rep. Gaetz From Misconduct Claims In Unsigned Letter

Topline

A group of women in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) office sent out an unsigned statement Thursday denying their boss has done anything improper, as Gaetz faces a federal probe into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, and his associate in Florida considers pleading guilty and possibly cooperating with prosecutors following a child sex trafficking charge.

Key Facts

The statement from Gaetz’s female staffers rejected all allegations against the congressman, calling him a “principled and morally grounded leader” who has respected his female aides and given them opportunities to advance.

The letter was not signed by any specific female aides, and Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond when asked who drafted or signed onto the letter.

The anonymous defense came out just one hour after a federal prosecutor and a defense attorney both indicated Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector in Florida and a friend of Gaetz’s, could take a plea deal after being charged with child sex trafficking and other offenses.

Crucial Quote

“At no time has any one of us experienced or witnessed anything less than the utmost professionalism and respect,” the statement read. “No hint of impropriety. No ounce of untruthfulness.”

Key Background

Gaetz is facing a range of serious allegations, all of which he’s denied. The Department of Justice is reportedly looking into whether he and Greenberg paid women for sex, and whether the congressman had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl and violated federal sex trafficking laws. Since the DOJ probe was first revealed, other claims have surfaced about Gaetz’ behavior at work, including reports that he’s shown nude photos of women to other members of Congress. Gaetz has repeatedly denied these allegations, insisting they’re part of a scheme to extort him and his father. DOJ has not charged Gaetz with a crime or formally accused him of anything.

Tangent

A former Seminole County tax collector, Greenberg was indicted last year on a litany of charges including stalking, child sex trafficking and fraud. He initially pleaded not guilty, but his lawyer indicated in court Thursday that he’s open to negotiating a plea deal.

What To Watch For

Greenberg could end up cooperating with prosecutors if he pleads guilty, posing a potential risk to Gaetz, though it’s unclear whether Greenberg has been asked to help with Gaetz’ investigation. The congressman’s office did not respond when asked to comment on Greenberg’s charges.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/04/08/female-staffers-defend-rep-gaetz-from-misconduct-claims-in-unsigned-letter/