Gaetz is denying allegations that he paid women for sexual favors or was involved with any underage girls. Given Mr. Gaetz's national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington - including some appointed by Mr. Trump - were notified of the investigation, the people said.
The Washington Post reported last week that Gaetz's father, Don Gaetz, was presented with a proposal by two men to help his son if he donated a sum of money to fund the effort to locate Robert Levinson, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent kidnapped in Iran, it could help his son's situation. Kent said his team had attempted a rescue of the US operative last July, in which he "lost four people" to Iranian forces.
Gaetz made no mention of the extortion plot in his op-ed Monday.
"Since I'm taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly", Gaetz wrote. "It comes as no surprise that my political opponents want to sensationalize and criminalize my prior sex life just as I am getting engaged to the best person I've ever known".
My personal life is and always has been conducted on my own time and my own dime. "Consensual adult relationships are not illegal", Gaetz said. Although I'm sure some partisan crooks in [Attorney General] Merrick Garland's Justice Department want to pervert the truth and the law to go after me, I will not be intimidated or extorted.
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.
Nathan Nelson, a former director of military affairs for Rep.
Kent described a sequence of improbable purported events that he said led him to solicit money from Gaetz's dad: namely, that he misinterpreted a "joke" by a federal agent who said the USA government would believe his intel on an Iranian-linked militant's activities if the former intelligence officer could track Levinson down.
"I'm here this morning to state that nothing could be farther from the truth". "Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz's staff had any knowledge of illegal activities". Without detailing them, he said he believes the charges against Gaetz are false.
No news media outlets have reported that Nelson left his position with Gaetz over the investigation, but FBI agents asking him about it was enough for Nelson to declare all of the news reports on the investigation into Gaetz as baseless, he said.
Gaetz used his column to attack Democrats, news organisations and others, saying his enemies are "just repeating false allegations about a congressman who loathes the swamp and fights both sides of it on a daily basis".