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Florida Senators decline to predict Rep. Matt Gaetz’s fate

Matt Gaetz
Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at “Women for American First” event, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Doral, Fla. The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation of Rep. Gaetz, citing reports of sexual and other misconduct by the Florida Republican. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Florida’s Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio are still hands off on the topic of embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz.
The two call the alleged sex trafficking accusations against Gaetz serious but caution it’s too premature to say what should happen to their fellow Floridian and GOP lawmaker.

Federal agents are investigating Gaetz, 38, for possible offenses such as sex with a minor, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss details publicly.

Gaetz flatly denies any nd all accusations and he has not been charged with any crimes.

“Sure, and I don’t think anyone’s saying they’re not,” Rubio said Tuesday when a reporter suggested the allegations are serious. “And he’s pretty firm in his denial, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.” Rubio said he’s not spoken with Gaetz since news of the investigation emerged late last month.

On Monday, Scott said Gaetz faces “pretty serious allegations” but didn’t say what should happen to him. “I think we’ve got to get all the facts,” Scott said.

Both senators are considered potential 2024 presidential hopefuls.

Few GOP lawmakers have voiced support for Gaetz, who has said he will not resign. Trump issued a brief statement last week that said Gaetz “has totally denied the accusations against him.”

The three-term lawmaker is also the focus of a bipartisan investigation by the House Ethics Committee of accusations including sexual misconduct, illegal drug use, spending campaign funds for personal use and accepting a bribe or impermissible gift. The committee has provided no additional detail.

Gaetz has been a bachelor until recently when he got engaged on New Year’s Eve at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida.

Gaetz and other Florida Republicans and political allies are being examined as part of a broad public corruption inquiry by federal investigators that began months ago, people familiar with the probe have said.

Prosecutors are said to be examining whether Gaetz and Joel Greenberg, a former county tax official, paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex.

One person said investigators were looking at trips Gaetz and other men took and whether women were paid or received gifts to have sex with them or later received government jobs.

It was also revealed in a Florida court last week that Greenberg was working toward a plea deal that might mean he would provide prosecutors with information about the congressman.
Greenburg pleaded not guilty to charges including child sex trafficking and fraud.