A Florida man was charged on Tuesday, Aug. 31, with attempting to extort $25 million from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and his family in exchange for securing a presidential pardon for the lawmaker who is allegedly accused of sexual misconduct.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump is under investigation for allegedly having sex with a girl under the age of 18, according to some media reports.
Prosecutors accused Stephen Alford, 62, of contacting Gaetz’s father and demanding $25 million in exchange for helping his son get a presidential pardon from the then-president Donald Trump.
Gaetz made headlines in March of this year when the New York Times published a report alleging that the representative was under investigation for having sex with a 17-year-old girl—a federal crime—whom he also paid to travel with him.
The Republican denied having committed such acts and called the reports a ‘Deep State’ witch hunt, according to Politico.
“The allegations against me are as searing as they are false,” Gaetz assured in an interview with Axios. “I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
According to the same lawmaker, his father was contacted by the scammer requesting an initial $4.5 million payment. Concerned about the situation, Gaetz’s family contacted the FBI who in turn asked Alford to wear a wire to record conversations with the scammer.
Just as Gaetz’s father was about to hand over the down payment and perhaps catch the scammer, the New York Times report was published the night before.
“This former Department of Justice official tomorrow was supposed to be contacted by my father so that specific instructions could be given regarding the wiring of $4.5 million as a down payment on this bribe,” the Republican said on the Tucker Carlson show.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that tonight somehow The New York Times is leaking this information, smearing me, and ruining the investigation,” Gaetz added.
The lawmaker told Axios that his lawyers were informed by the Justice Department that he was “not a target, but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women.”
Gaetz doesn’t deny getting involved with women: “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”
But he said he was “absolutely” sure that none of the women were underage.
Upon hearing the news, the legislator used his Twitter account to celebrate the news but at the same time accused the federal government of being behind a plot to bring him down.
America First not welcomed
Gaetz is known to be a strong supporter of ‘America First’ policies installed by former President Donald Trump, whom he says has been an inspiration for his political career.
On July 17, two ‘America First’ events that he and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia had organized in California were canceled under pressure from local authorities who accused the two lawmakers of being ‘divisive.’
In response, Greene posted a video on her Twitter account saying:
“Radical communists have spent the last week trying to cancel our America First Rally w/@mattgaetz.
Violent threats from BLM/Antifa were used again today to bully another venue.
We won’t back down.
Our rally is happening tomorrow night in California.”
Both Gaetz and Greene have also been very vocal about the election fraud allegations that in Greene’s case have cost her to be stripped of all her commissions in the House of Representatives.