U.S. Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) delivers remarks in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC.
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The Department of Justice has decided not to criminally charge Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in the agency’s two-year probe of alleged sex trafficking, his lawyers said Wednesday.
The DOJ’s decision was not a surprise, as nearly two years had passed without prosecutors filing charges against Gaetz, despite obtaining cooperation in their probe from his former friend, disgraced Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg.
“We have just spoken with the DOJ and have been informed that they have concluded their investigation into Congressman Gaetz and allegations related to sex trafficking and obstruction of justice and they have determined not to bring any charges against him,” Gaetz’s lawyers Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said in a statement to CNBC.
Gaetz’s office in a statement, said, “The Department of Justice has confirmed to Congressman Gaetz’s attorneys that their investigation has concluded and that he will not be charged with any crimes.”
A DOJ spokesman declined to comment.
The Washington Post in September reported that career prosecutors had recommended against charging Gaetz due to concerns about Greenberg and another potential witness.
John Clune, the lawyer representing the young woman who was the focus of the investigation into Gaetz and others, in a statement, said, “Our client was recently notified by the Department of Justice of their decision not to prosecute this matter.”
“She understands the decision and is grateful for the Department’s hard work and support during this difficult experience,” Clune said. “Neither she nor her counsel will have any further comment at this time.”
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Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to sex trafficking of minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.
Prosecutors have said that Greenberg paid at least one minor to have sex with him and other men.
Greenberg’s lawyer in December criticized the DOJ’s handling of the case, noting that his client had discussed “public figures” during his cooperation, and that his accounts were corroborated by other witnesses and records.
“Perhaps the DOJ will appoint a special counsel to address those individuals that implicate broader national concerns,” Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, wrote in a court filing. “Perhaps the DOJ are master strategists far beyond the capabilities of the undersigned. Or perhaps the DOJ is like Nero fiddling away as Rome burns.”