The ex-girlfriend of embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz testified before a federal grand jury in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, an indication the Department of Justice is moving closer to indicting the firebrand pol on child sex-trafficking charges.
The woman was spotted entering the courthouse alongside her attorney and has been in negotiations with prosecutors about a potential immunity deal where she’d avoid obstruction charges in exchange for her testimony against Gaetz (R-Fla.), NBC News reported.
Gaetz, 39, is under investigation for sex-trafficking a 17-year-old, obstructing justice and violating the Mann Act, which criminalizes the transportation of people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution, legal sources told the outlet. Gaetz has repeatedly, and vigorously, denied the allegations, claiming they are nothing but a DOJ “witch hunt.”
The probe into Gaetz started more than a year ago when his longtime ally Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, was charged with a bevvy of crimes, including sex-trafficking of a minor — the same girl whom Gaetz is accused of abusing.
While the feds were probing Greenberg, the alleged sex-trafficking victim told them Gaetz had also had sex with her at one point, a source familiar with the case told the outlet.
Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend, who was in an open relationship with the conservative between 2017 and 2018, is a crucial voice in the probe because the couple would frequently speak about his trysts with other women, and her testimony could help investigators fill in gaps in the story, the outlet said.
She also traveled with Gaetz and other young women to the Bahamas in 2018, a trip that is part of the investigation as well, Politico previously reported.
Once the investigation into Gaetz started, he spoke with the ex in a three-way phone call with another woman who at the time was already cooperating with federal investigators and was surreptitiously recording the call, sources familiar with the case told the outlet.
It was on that call that the ex and Gaetz allegedly obstructed justice, but it’s not immediately clear how.
The ex-girlfriend is repped by Tim Jansen, a prominent Florida attorney known for securing immunity deals.
Gaetz and Jansen did not return requests for comment.