WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is ending its sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., without charging him with any crimes, his attorneys and congressional office said.
“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 attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said in a statement.
Gaetz’s office added, “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.”
Prosecutors had spent months investigating Gaetz's personal conduct and, specifically, allegations that he was part of a scheme that led to the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl. At the core of their investigation was testimony from a former Gaetz associate, Joel Greenberg, who worked as a Florida tax collector.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment. CNN was first to report the news.
In 2021, Greenberg pleaded guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of his plea agreement. He was sentenced in December to 11 years in prison.
NBC News had reported in October that the investigation into Gaetz had stalled, according to attorneys who have represented witnesses and people who have been subpoenaed or have spoken to investigators. The attorneys briefed about aspects of the case said the probe stalled over concerns about the credibility of two key witnesses or a lack of direct evidence implicating Gaetz, who has denied all wrongdoing.
Gaetz had long denied the allegations against him, including that he had sex with a minor, that he transported the alleged victim across state lines to engage in prostitution or that he obstructed justice in an effort to cover up his actions.
The Justice Department's decision lifts an enormous legal cloud off of Gaetz, who has been dogged by the allegations for more than a year. Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has become a thorn in the side of the new GOP majority.
Gaetz was part of a faction of Republican holdouts to support Kevin McCarthy of California in his bid for speaker. He finally relented and voted “present” on the 15th ballot to put McCarthy over the threshold he needed to surmount secure the position. McCarthy recently quietly appointed Gaetz to the new GOP subcommittee on the "weaponization of the federal government."