April 6 (UPI) — Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Monday said he is “absolutely not resigning” as he faces a sex trafficking investigation and again denied the allegations made against him.
Gaetz, 38, declared that he is “not a monk, and certainly not a criminal” as he said that he has never paid for sex and “as an adult man” has not slept with a 17-year-old, in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner.
“Folks won’t be surprised that bizarre claims are being made about me shortly after I decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway: the establishment; the FBI; the Biden Justice Department; the Cheney political dynasty; even the Justice Department under Trump,” he wrote.
Also Monday, Gaetz’ office livestreamed a press conference held by one of his former aides, Nathan Nelson, who said the FBI questioned him about whether he resigned after learning about “illegal activities” by the congressman.
“Neither I nor any members of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities,” said Nelson, a retired Air Force captain who advised Gaetz on military issues from 2017 through last fall.
Nelson also described the allegations against the lawmaker as “baseless” despite saying he had no “specific knowledge” of the investigation.
He added that he had not spoken to Gaetz in months and did not know Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in northern Florida, who was indicted last year on charges of sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people, including one underage girl, in exchange for sex and has been linked to the investigation into Gaetz.
Gaetz confirmed last week that he was under investigation but declared the probe as an extortion attempt by a former Justice Department official, saying his father had been in contact with the FBI about the matter.
The New York Times reported investigators are examining whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws by engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paying for her to travel with him.
According to the report, the investigation began under then-Attorney General William Barr in the final months of former President Donald Trump’s administration and was part of a probe into Greenberg.