- Rep. Matt Gaetz attended drug-fueled parties where attendees sometimes had sex, CNN reported.
- Money sometimes changed hands after the parties, the report said.
- Gaetz is said to have made payments between 2018 and 2019 to at least one woman who went to the parties.
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Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was a fixture at parties which frequently involved drug use and sex and after which money sometimes changed hands, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Two women who attended several of the parties told the news outlet that they took place in Florida and often featured men who were active in local Republican politics. The first thing some women were told to do was put their phones away because the men didn’t want the parties to be documented on social media or in photos.
Partygoers would share drugs like ecstasy and cocaine, and “some had sex,” the report said, adding that after some of the parties money was sent to some attendees. CNN said it had viewed digital receipts showing that Gaetz and his associate Joel Greenberg used payment apps “to send hundreds of dollars to at least one woman who attended the parties.”
The payments were said to have been made between 2018 and 2019, and a label for at least one of them said it was for travel expenses.
These details are likely of high interest to federal investigators who are probing whether the Florida congressman had a sexual relationship with a minor and broke federal sex-trafficking laws. Greenberg, who has been indicted on 33 counts, appears to be close to a plea deal and is said to have been cooperating with prosecutors against Gaetz since last year.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Greenberg had given investigators information about an “array of topics,” including telling them that he and Gaetz had interactions with women who were given cash and gifts in exchange for sex.
Politico reported that the feds also obtained a search warrant and seized Gaetz’s iPhone in December. The report said Gaetz changed his phone number last year and that investigators also seized his former girlfriend’s phone in November.
The GOP lawmaker has fervently denied the allegations against him and claimed that the Justice Department’s investigation into him is part of an elaborate and convoluted scheme to extort his family for millions of dollars. A spokesperson for Gaetz did not directly respond to CNN’s request for comment but questioned the use of anonymous sources.