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Man tied to Matt Gaetz's extortion allegation says lawmaker is 'trying to direct attention from himself'

April 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 54.5%. 2 min read.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) arrives for a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Army has fired or suspended 14 leaders at Fort Hood following an investigation into the death of Specialist Vanessa Guill??n and numerous other deaths and reports of sexual abuse on the military base. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

A man tied to the allegations of extortion pushed by Rep. Matt Gaetz said Monday evening that the Republican lawmaker is "trying to direct attention from himself" as Gaetz faces a Justice Department probe.

(CNN)A man tied to the allegations of extortion pushed by Rep. Matt Gaetz said Monday evening that the Republican lawmaker is "trying to direct attention from himself" as Gaetz faces a Justice Department probe.

Bob Kent, a former Air Force intelligence officer, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Prime Time" that -- despite Gaetz's claims -- he never tried to extort money from Gaetz's father, and that such claims are not part of the Justice Department investigation into allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution.

The Washington Examiner later said it had obtained documents in Matt Gaetz's possession purporting to lay out the alleged extortion scheme.

That document suggested the FBI "became aware of compromising pictures" of Matt Gaetz and another election official involved with "underage prostitutes" during an unrelated investigation into political corruption.

Matt Gaetz has named former Department of Justice prosecutor David McGee as being involved in the alleged plot as well, something McGee denies.

The Florida lawmaker began pushing his claims of extortion after it became public that the Justice Department is investigating him over allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution, including involving a minor, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Federal investigators are examining whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, CNN and the New York Times have reported.

A person briefed on the probe confirmed to CNN that federal authorities were investigating Gaetz as part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician, an investigation that began in the closing months of the Trump-era Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr.

CNN has previously reported that investigators are examining whether Gaetz's involvement with other young women broke federal sex trafficking and prostitution laws, according to the person briefed on the probe and another person briefed on the matter.

Investigators are also pursuing allegations from witnesses and other evidence that Gaetz may have used cash and drugs in his dealings with young women, the sources said.

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