Florida Republican and former President Donald J. Trump’s close aide Matt Getz is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had sex with the 17-year-old and has been paid to travel with him, according to three people informed of the case.
Investigators are investigating whether Mr. Getz has violated federal sexual trafficking laws, the people said. Various federal laws made it illegal to encourage people under the age of 18 to travel across state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something. The Department of Justice regularly prosecutes such cases, and criminals often receive severe punishment.
It was not clear how Mr Getz met the girl, who is believed to have been investigating at the time of the encounters about two years ago, according to two people.
Two people said that Attorney General William P. The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Barr. Looking at Mr. Getz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington – including some appointed by Mr. Trump – were informed of the investigation, the people said.
The trio said 38-year-old Mr. Getz’s ordeal is part of a wider investigation as to his political aide, Joel Greenberg, a local official in Florida who was involved in a stream of allegations last summer that included sex trafficking Was also involved. A child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was a young girl.
Mr. Greenberg, who has since resigned as tax collector in Seminole County, north of Orlando, visited the White House with Mr. Getz in 2019, Mr. Greenberg posted a picture on Twitter.
No charges have been laid against Mr. Getz, and the extent of his criminal performance is unclear.
Mr. Getz said in an interview that his lawyer was in contact with the Justice Department and was told that he was the subject, not the subject of an investigation. “I only know what it has to do with women,” Mr. Getz said. “I suspect that someone is trying to reiterate my generosity as something untoward to ex-girlfriends.”
A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office in Central Florida.
Mr Greenberg pleaded not guilty last year and was sent to prison this month for violating the terms of his bail. He is scheduled to go on trial in Orlando in June.
A frequent presence on Fox News and other conservative media, Mr. Getz has recently dealt with confidants about leaving elected politics and taking a full-time job with conservative television channel Newsmax or another network, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Axios reported for the first time on Tuesday that Mr. Getz is considering leaving Congress.
Mr Greenberg maintained ties to controversial figures who have supported Mr Trump, an examination of court records, social media posts and far-flung websites. Roger J., a longtime political adviser to Mr. Trump. Members of Stone-Jr.’s right-right group The Proud Boys and a website run by a network of fake social media accounts have fueled false allegations about Mr Greenberg’s statements, similar to rumors. Prosecutors accused Mr. Greenberg of attempting to covertly disperse.
It was unclear how Mr. Greenberg knew either Mr. Getz or Mr. Stone. She posted a selfie with both of them in 2017, Tweet, “Great catching.” The following year, Mr. Getz expressed support for Mr. Greenberg’s successful bid for local office, predicting that he would someday be a great member of Congress.
On Capitol Hill, Mr. Getz has adopted the role of villain to the left, as he has served as one of Mr. Trump’s staunch defenders and mercenaries, often with a dramatic temperament. In the early days of the epidemic, he wore a gas mask on the house floor last year, insisting that he was making fun of the severity of the spread of coronovirus.
Mr. Getz was first elected to Congress in 2016. As a member of the Florida State Legislature and a member of a Republican political family, he initially supported former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for the primary position of Republican President. Luck to Mr. Trump.
It paid off. He won a seat in Congress representing the part of Florida Pandell, and as one of Mr. Trump’s fiercest supporters on Capitol Hill and cable television, his profile skyrocketed.
Following Mr. Trump’s defeat last year, Mr. Getz once again rallied in his favor, defending the president’s unfounded claims of widespread election fraud. Mr. R. Getz during the presidential election, Joseph R. Helped organize efforts among lawmakers to challenge Biden Jr.’s victory. Trump was interrupted for hours by Trump’s mob during a congressional certificate on January 6. Later Mr. Getz traveled to Wyoming to organize a rally against Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican leader who voted to impeach Mr. Trump to incite a riot.
In 2017, Mr. Getz was the only member of Congress to vote against a law that gave the federal government more power and money to fight human trafficking.
A local television interview at the time said, “Voters in Northwest Florida did not send me to Washington to form a more federal government.” “If anything, we should eliminate a lot of agencies at the federal level.”
The personal life of Mr. Getz has been noted before. Last summer, he announced that he had a son, 19-year-old Nestor Galban, although Mr. Getz stated that he was not Mr. Galban’s biological father, nor did he adopt him. Mr. Galban was 12 years old when he met and came to the United States from Cuba; Mr. Getz was dating Mr. Galban’s sister at the time.
“That’s a part of my family story,” Mr. Getz told People magazine in June. “Nestor, my work with our family, no element of my public service can compare to the happiness that our family has brought me.”
Mr getz as proposed On December 30 at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club with his girlfriend, Ginger Lucky.
It was unclear how investigators in the Greenberg case began investigating Mr. Getz’s conduct. Last June, federal prosecutors accused Mr. Greenberg of staring at a political opponent.
According to court records, federal officials confiscated Mr. Greenberg’s phone and laptop at the time. He discovered evidence that Mr. Greenberg, whose job responsibilities included issuing licenses, was creating fake identification cards for himself and a teenage girl, and according to court documents, were used on permits for concealed firearms Was experimenting with holograms.
Two months later, he was charged with sexual trafficking. From May to November 2017, prosecutors said, Mr. Greenberg targeted the girl, who was between 14 and 17, saying she “admitted” and “solicited” sex in exchange for unspecified perks or favors. .
Mr. Greenberg served in advertising before successfully running at the age of 31 for a tax collector in Seminole County.
Within days of assuming office, he fired three employees who had supported his predecessor and began spending more than $ 1.5 million in taxpayer funds on personal expenses, including guns, ammunition, Body armor and drones were involved, as well as computers on his own cryptocurrency venture, a county audit later revealed.
The following year, according to The Orlando Sentinel, Mr. Greenberg posted a photo of himself on social media with Milo Yonopoulos, a right-wing personality who has a history of making racist remarks. The newspaper also detailed Mr. Greenberg’s misgivings and anti-Muslim comments on Facebook.
In his bid for re-election, Mr Greenberg turned to secret tactics to undermine a potential opponent, according to court papers in late 2019. Prosecutors said they had sent an anonymous letter to the school, dealing with a potential candidate alleging sexual misconduct with a student and making similar claims on a fake Facebook account.
As the primary race intensified last summer, similar messages began appearing on fake social media accounts involving Mr. Stone.
According to Graphica, a company that specializes in analyzing social media, “a person named April Goad on Facebook said,” Floridians named April Goed on Facebook, warning the rival candidate.
The post linked to an article about the rival, published on the Central Florida Post, is a website controlled by Mr. Stone’s associates who wrote a favorable article about Mr. Greenberg. The website was founded by a member of the Proud Boys, a lead-up to insurance in the Capitol, with security providers linked to Mr. Stone in Washington on January 6.
Mr. Greenberg’s re-election efforts quickly dried up when he was first ousted last June, and he resigned a day later.
Nicholas Fandos Contributed to reporting. Kitty bennett And Susan C. Sea shore Contributed to research.