A New York Times report about Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., traveling and having a sexual relationship with an underage girl "is verifiably false" and has potential "connections inside the Biden White House" to a possible pay-for-play "extortion scheme," Gaetz said Tuesday night.
"It is a horrible allegation, and it is a lie," Gaetz told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight," saying the women he has traveled with were of legal age and he was paying for their travel and not for their company.
"People can look at my travel records and see that is not the case," Gaetz said. "What is happening is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official."
Gaetz said his father received a March 16 text message seeking a meeting to call for a $25 million payment to "make horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away."
After alerting the FBI to an attempt to extort a member of Congress, Gaetz said his father agreed to wear a wire in a meeting with the former DOJ official.
"Tonight, I am demanding the Department of Justice and the FBI release the audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence and that will show that these allegations aren't true," Gaetz told host Tucker Carlson. "They're merely intended to try to bleed my family out of money."
In order to catch the DOJ official in the crime of extortion, there was a $4.5 million downpayment wire planned for Wednesday, which Gaetz said led to the release of the Times story to smear him and his family and foil the FBI investigation.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that tonight, somehow, The New York Times is leaking this information, smearing me, and ruining this investigation that would likely result in one of the former colleagues of the former DOJ being brought to justice for trying to extort me and my family," Gaetz said.
He did acknowledge there is an investigation by the Justice Department into accusations he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid her to travel with him. The investigation was seeking to determine if he violated federal sex trafficking laws, a source told The Associated Press.
The probe has been underway for nearly a year and Gaetz has been aware for months he was under investigation.
Gaetz revealed the name of the ex-DOJ official who he alleges to have committed criminal extortion, but Newsmax is not publishing the name because the claims cannot be independently verified at this time.
"The money that was supposed to be paid today, that would have shown even more evidence of [name redacted] work in this extortion scheme that was foiled by The New York Times story, and I believe that's why this horrible information and this terrible allegations have been used this evening," Gaetz told Carlson.
"I know there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment he could make this investigation go away, along with his co-conspirators. They even claim to have specific connections inside the Biden White House."
Gaetz contended the request for payment came with a "promise Joe Biden would pardon me."
"Obviously, I don't need a pardon," Gaetz said. "I'm not seeking a pardon. I have not done anything improper or wrong. But what I am troubled by is the real motivation for all of this."
Gaetz said the entire targeted scheme is designed to get back at a supporter of former President Donald Trump and a conservative.
"I do believe there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to smear me," Gaetz told Carlson. "Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people you are dating and are of legal age is not a crime.
"And I'm just troubled that the lack of any sort of legitimate investigation into me would then permute, would then convert, into this extortion attempt."
Gaetz added, "I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl."
"That is false, and records will bear that out to be false," he said.
"People were talking about a minor and that there were pictures of me with child prostitutes – that's obviously false. There will be no such pictures, because no such thing happened."
Gaetz said, "The New York Times story was leaked in order to quell that investigative effort" of the extortion and the DOJ must release the tapes from his father's wire tap.
"Those tapes will show I am innocent and the whole concept of sex charges against me was really just a way to try to bleed my family out of money and probably smear my name, because I am a well-known, out-spoken conservative, and I guess that's out of style in a lot of parts of the country right now," Gaetz concluded.
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