Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation by the US House Ethics Committee over misconduct allegations, has denied he sought a meeting with former President Donald Trump after he learned about a possible Justice Department probe against him and was turned down.
The embattled congressman took to Twitter, vehemently denying the meeting request and its snub from Trump, reported by CNN, saying that he was on a pre-planned vacation with his fiancée.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 12, 2021
Trump's spokesman Jason Miller also said that there was no request for such a meeting and therefore, no refusal.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) April 12, 2021
Earlier, CNN reported – citing sources – that the meeting the congressman allegedly requested was rejected by Trump’s aides, who had urged the former president not to defend Gaetz.
It was reported last week that an acquaintance of the congressman, Joel Greenberg, might serve as a witness in the US Department of Justice's probe into federal sex trafficking claims made against the congressman.
The New York Times reported in April, citing three people familiar with the matter, that Gaetz is being investigated by the Department of Justice for allegedly paying a 17-year-old girl to travel with him and have sex. The outlet also later reported that he paid multiple women for sex, citing check receipts it obtained as well as people close to the investigation.
Greenberg, a former tax collector, has been hit with 33 federal charges related to allegations of sex trafficking and identity theft, as well as allegations of embezzlement and fraudulently obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal loans for defunct companies.
Fritz Scheller, attorney for Joel Greenberg, said last week that his client was expected to take a plea deal with federal prosecutors. “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Scheller said.
— The Recount (@therecount) April 8, 2021
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and claims his family is a victim of an extortion plot masterminded by a former DOJ official and alleged that the criminals demanded $25 million from his family in exchange for making the sex trafficking case "go away."