FLORIDA representative Matt Gaetz has hit back at allegations made against him as he is reportedly being investigated by the Justice Department.
The Republican, 38, spoke to Fox News host Tucker Carlson about the claims made about him.
What did Matt Gaetz say to Tucker Carlson on Fox News?
Gaetz hit back at reports of sex trafficking allegations in an on-air interview with Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, March 30 after reports of an investigation broke.
Speaking to Carlson, Gaetz claimed a rogue ex-DOJ official was looking to extort his family.
The politician said the "horrible allegation" is a "lie," adding that he was being extorted by a Florida lawyer, David McGee, who Gaetz said used to work for the Department of Justice and now works for Beggs & Lane.
He said: "The New York Times is running a story that I have travelled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false.
"People can look at my travel records and see that is not the case.
"What is happening is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official.
"On March 16 my father got a text message demanding a meeting where in a person demanded $25million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away."
Gaetz said his father was contacted because of an extortion scheme that was aimed at, "Bleeding my family out of money."
When Carlson asked what comes next, Gaetz said he was supposed to transfer money as part of a bribe, only for the New York Times' story to break and the information about the Justice Department's investigation to go public.
The representative said he has been in touch with local FBI officials about the alleged extortion efforts, which he hinted were politically motivated.
When asked about the DOJ's reported investigation into sex trafficking, Gaetz said: "The person doesn't exist."
What did Tucker Carlson say?
Carlson said it was "one of the weirdest interviews" he had ever conducted after Gaetz brought up a false allegation made against the host many years ago.
In what appeared to be an effort to get Carlson to relate to his situation, Gaetz said: "I’m not the only person on screen right now who has been falsely accused of a terrible sex act
“You were accused of something that you did not do, so you know what this feels like, the pain it can bring to your family.”
Seemingly confused, Carlson said: “You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago. And of course, it was not true. I never met the person."
The congressman then tried to get Carlson to confirm that the two of them had once had dinner with a woman he claimed was "threatened by the FBI".
He said: "You and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her.
"And she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn’t cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay-for-play scheme that she could face trouble."
Carlson later said he did not remember that meeting
Why is Matt Gaetz being investigated?
Gaetz is reportedly being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travel.
Investigators are examining whether Gaetz, who was an ally to former President Donald Trump, violated sex trafficking laws, The New York Times reported.
The probe was opened during the final months of the Trump administration and under the former president's Attorney General William Barr, the paper reported.
No charges have been brought against the Florida congressman.
In a statement, Rep. Gaetz said: “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.
"We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.
"The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation.
"No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation.
"I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
A number of federal statues make it illegal to induce someone under the age of 18 to travel across state lines in order to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value.
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