Gaetz hires legal team, vows to fight ‘unfounded allegations’: spokesman
Florida congressman has publicly denied any wrongdoing
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz hired a legal team to fight the "unfounded allegations" against him as the Justice Department investigates sex trafficking allegations involving underage girls.
"Matt has always been a fighter," a spokesperson for Gaetz said in a statement to Fox News Friday.
"A fighter for his constituents, a fighter for the country, and a fighter for the Constitution," the spokesperson continued. "He’s going to fight back against the unfounded allegations against him."
The spokesperson added that Gaetz’s legal team, led by Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kishner, "will take the fight to those trying to smear his name with falsehoods."
Gaetz is being investigated for alleged sex trafficking, The New York Times has reported, as well as for allegations of payments to women for sex. The sex trafficking investigation stems from allegations that he paid a 17-year-old girl to fly across state lines for sexual relations.
So far, no charges have been filed against him. Outlets have reported that the investigation originated with Gaetz's political ally Joel Greenberg. Greenberg is a former GOP Florida tax collector who was indicted last year and is facing a slew of charges, including sex trafficking of a child.
Gaetz has suggested an ex-Justice Department official leaked the criminal investigation to the Times because Gaetz and his family would not participate in a $25 million extortion plot.
"It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie. The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case. What is happening is an extortion of me and my family," Gaetz recently told Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
Since the federal sex trafficking probe involving Gaetz was made public this week, more reports have surfaced about the conservative firebrand's conduct around women.
In Congress, Gaetz would brag about his sexual escapades to his colleagues on the House floor and allegedly showed fellow lawmakers nude photos and videos of women he had slept with, CNN reported last week. One video Gaetz revealed to colleagues allegedly showed a naked woman with a hula hoop.
When Gaetz was a young state lawmaker in the Florida House of Representatives, he and fellow male lawmakers allegedly took part in a sex competition, where points were awarded for conquests such as having sex with married lawmakers and spending the night in a college sorority house, Business Insider reported last week.
The game was the "worst kept secret in Tallahassee," a GOP insider said.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel, Morgan Phillips, Marisa Schultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.