Gaetz seeks pardon tied to Justice Department sex trafficking probe

Congressman Matt Gates (R-Fla.) told a former White House aide that he is seeking a pre-emptive pardon from President Donald Trump’s investigation into him being the target, according to a report provided to the House select committee investigating Jan. 1. testimony. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.

According to people familiar with his testimony, Johnny McCent told investigators that Gates told him in a brief meeting that “they were investigating him, or were investigating him,” but did not specify whether it was Who is investigating Gates.

McEntee added that Gates told him “he didn’t do anything wrong, but they were trying to make his life hell, and you know, it would be great if the president could pardon him.” Gaetz told McEntee , he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon.

Asked by investigators whether Gates’ request for a pardon was in the context of a Justice Department investigation into whether Gates violated federal sex trafficking laws, McEntire replied: “I think it’s context, yes,” according to a person familiar with the matter. Discuss sensitive issues anonymously.

The testimony is the first sign that Gates is specifically seeking a pardon as he comes to light in a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated sex trafficking laws. His public gestures in the final months of the Trump administration have been less specific, repeatedly calling for a broad pre-emptive pardon to fend off a possible Democratic investigation.

McEntire testified that Gates met with him briefly one night and discussed the pardon, but McEntire could not recall whether their conversation took place before or after Jan. 1. Riots will take place in June 2021, according to people familiar with the matter.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) first dabbled in politics a decade ago. It didn’t take long for him to emerge within the Republican Party. (Video: Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

A Justice Department probe into whether Gates paid for sex, paid for women to travel interstate and had sex with a 17-year-old was approved by prosecutors in the final months of the Trump administration . General William P. Barr. The investigation stemmed from a federal investigation into Gaetz’s friend, who is now a convicted sex trafficker. Gaetz denies paying for sex or having sex with a minor as an adult.

McEntee did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Neither Meadows nor his attorney immediately responded to a request for comment. A spokesman for Gaetz declined to comment on the testimony or whether Gaetz discussed the pardon with McEntee or Meadows, responding instead that Gaetz never directly asked Trump for a pardon.

What to know about the sex trafficking investigation involving Matt Gaetz

“Congressman Matt Gates has publicly and privately discussed pardons for many others at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “As for himself, President Trump made this malicious rumor more than a year ago, saying ‘Congressman Matt Gates never asked me for a pardon.’ Rep. Gates continues to support President Trump’s statement.”

The House select committee also declined to comment.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crime, but Gaetz’s colleague, Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, pleaded guilty in spring 2021 to six criminal charges, including sex with a minor trade. Greenberg agreed to cooperate fully with prosecutors and testify in court, and has been providing information about Gates to investigators since 2020, The Washington Post previously reported.

Joel Greenberg, a former tax officer in Seminole County, Florida, pleaded guilty on May 17 to sex trafficking of minors and a series of other crimes. (Video: Reuters, Photos: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP and Jabin Botsford/Reuters)

“The last time I had sex with a 17-year-old, I was 17,” Gates has previously said. On November 25, 2020, just weeks after Trump lost the presidential election, Gates told Fox News that Trump “should pardon everyone, from himself to his administration, if he has to” Officer, to Joe Exotic.”

Meadows’ top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the House select committee to investigate in January. On June 6, 2021, she recalled the attack by Gaetz and the Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has both advocated for participation in a December 21, 2020, White House meeting to discuss efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. In testimony aired earlier, she said they also advocated pardons for “a small number of other members who did not attend the December 21 meeting.”

However, Gates “has been personally pushing” for a pardon “since early December”, Hutchinson added. But the point of the pardon request was unclear from Hutchinson’s testimony. “I don’t know why Mr. Gaetz would contact me to ask if he could meet with Mr. Gaetz. Meadows about accepting a presidential pardon,” she added.

Brooks, who asked for a pardon in an email to White House aides at the time, issued a statement defending his actions after Hutchinson’s testimony, saying “there are concerns that Democrats will abuse the justice system by prosecuting and jailing Republicans.” Certification against elections in Congress.

Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Hirschman told investigators he also believed Gates was seeking a pardon, according to excerpts of testimony played during a public hearing of the committee.

“The general tone was that we could be prosecuted because we defended the president’s position on these matters,” Hirschman recalled. “The pardon he was discussing was as broad as you could describe it, from the very beginning—I remember him being—from the very beginning to today, for everything. Then he mentioned Nixon. I said Nixon The pardon has never been so widespread.”

Gates was ultimately not pardoned by Trump.

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