NATIONAL NEWS

DOJ prosecutors recommend against charging Rep. Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe

Sep 23, 2022, 1:41 PM
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questions U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Al...
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questions U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as he testifies before the House Judicary Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on April 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. The House Judicary Committee held an oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Prosecutors have recommended against charging Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz in a federal sex-trafficking investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The recommendation comes in part because prosecutors have questions over whether the central witnesses in the long-running investigation would be perceived as credible before a jury, the source said.

Senior Justice Department officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz, according to the source. CNN has previously reported that the department was facing a looming deadline to bring charges so as not to interfere with an election, which is required under Justice Department policy. Gaetz is up for reelection in November.

The Florida congressman was under investigation over allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution, including whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

There have been indications that the Justice Department’s case might be in trouble. In July, prosecutors agreed to allow a key witness and cooperator in the probe, Gaetz’s close friend Joel Greenberg, to proceed to sentencing in December on charges including soliciting sex from a minor. The Justice Department had sought repeated delays in his sentencing in anticipation of his assistance with the Gaetz investigation.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The Washington Post first reported the recommendation from federal prosecutors.

A lawyer for Gaetz told CNN on Friday that they have not received official word from the department regarding a charging decision.

A spokesman for the congressman said: “Those who told lies about Rep. Matt Gaetz are going to prison, and Rep. Matt Gaetz is going back to Congress to continue fighting for America.”

Gaetz sought a preemptive presidential pardon from Donald Trump, an aide to the former president told the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. John McEntee, who served as director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, testified that he interpreted the request to be in the context of the DOJ probe.

According to McEntee, Gaetz said the Justice Department was trying to “make his life hell” and that it would be “great” if he could receive a pardon.

Prosecutors continued to build their case over the past year, recruiting several people associated with Gaetz to cooperate with the investigation. One key cooperator, his ex-girlfriend who worked on Capitol Hill and has been linked to Gaetz as far back as the summer of 2017, testified in front of a Florida grand jury in January.

Greenberg, a former Florida county tax official, pleaded guilty to six charges last year. He had told the Justice Department about encounters he and Gaetz had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex, CNN has reported.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

...
Associated Press

CDC drops traveler health notices for individual countries

The CDC is doing away with notices about the COVID-19 risk of visiting specific countries.
1 day ago
WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 23: Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Save America Rally at the...
Associated Press

Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

Former President Donald Trump has gone to court against CNN, a familiar target when he was president.
1 day ago
Search crews in Florida....
Mike Anderson

Rescue teams continue to find residents effected by Hurricane Ian

Search teams are helping oversee FEMA's efforts to search for those survivors, which is no easy task.
1 day ago
FILE photo...
REBECCA BOONE Associated Press

Idaho ordered to pay $2.5M to transgender inmate for legal fees

A federal judge has ordered Idaho and its prison medical care provider to pay more than $2.5 million in legal fees to a transgender inmate who sued after she was denied gender confirmation surgery.
1 day ago
surveillance image of possible shooter...
Associated Press

Killings of 5 men in California are related, police say

Rewards totaling $85,000 have been offered for information leading to an arrest in five fatal shootings since July in Stockton, California, that investigators believe are related.
1 day ago
OREM, UT - FEBRUARY 21: A bump stock is installed on an AK-47 at Good Guys Gun and Range on Februar...
Associated Press

Supreme Court rejects bump stock ban cases, one from Utahn

The Supreme Court says it won't take up two cases that involved challenges to a ban enacted during the Trump administration on bump stocks. Those are the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
DOJ prosecutors recommend against charging Rep. Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe