Gaetz Faces Probe by House Ethics Over Potential Misconduct

US Representative Matt Gaetz

A Gaetz representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House Ethics committee announced Friday that it is investigating sexual misconduct allegations involving Republican Rep. Tom Reed of NY, who had announced he would not be seeking re-election after the allegations first surfaced last month.

The committee, chaired by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, cautions that its announcement of an investigation "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee". "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him".

The Gaetz probe grew out of a large federal inquiry into Joel Greenberg, a local Florida official who's close with Gaetz and was indicted past year on a range of sex trafficking charges.

"Matt has always been a fighter", the spokesperson told the outlet.

The congressman's office told Fox News on Friday that Gaetz had secured a legal team led by attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kishner, who "will take the fight to those trying to smear his name with falsehoods". He has said he plans to keep his seat.

When asked directly if Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, near Orlando, was cooperating with prosecutors on the Gaetz case, Scheller cited attorney-client privilege.

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Federal prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss details publicly. A judge has set a May 15 deadline for Greenberg to reach a plea deal.

Greenberg faces many of those charges through indictments handed down against him in U.S. District Court in Orlando.

The hearing Thursday came after a new report from CBS News said federal investigators are now scrutinizing a trip Gaetz made to the Bahamas in 2018 or 2019 with an Orlando doctor, Jason Pirozzolo.

Mukasey is a former federal prosecutor in NY and is the son of Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge who served as attorney general in President George W. Bush's administration. Gallagher was acquitted of killing a wounded war prisoner in Iraq.

He also represented the CEO of a social media company during special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. Reed, a Republican from western NY who was accused in March 2021 of rubbing a female lobbyist's back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday, March 21, 2021, and announced that he will not run for reelection in 2022.

So far, no charges have been filed against him.

The attorney is one of the lawyers representing President Trump in two separate criminal probes in NY.

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