A trip that Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz took with a marijuana entrepreneur in 2018 or 2019 is being scrutinized as part of a federal sex trafficking investigation.
Now, there’s a sentence.
A report from CBS News cites multiple sources, who said Gaetz traveled to the Bahamas with Jason Pirozzolo, who’s also a hand surgeon. Pirozzolo reportedly paid for travel expenses, accommodations and female escorts.
At the center of the investigation is whether the women crossed state or international lines for the explicit purpose of sex.
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“Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl,” a spokesperson from Gaetz’s office told CBS News in a statement. “What began with blaring headlines about ‘sex trafficking’ has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults.”
“Yesterday, we even learned of some nonsense ‘pardon’ story that turned out to be false,” said the staffer, “and today it’s just more euphemism. It’s interesting to watch the Washington wheels grinding so hard every time one of their falsehoods gets knocked down.”
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The New York Times reported Wednesday that Gaetz privately asked former President Donald Trump‘s White House to give blanket pre-emptive pardons to himself and unnamed congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed. He was denied.
According to CBS News, Pirozzolo did an interview with a podcast in 2018 in which he said that the Florida lawmaker was working to introduce federal legislation to research medical cannabis use.
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“In fact, Congressman Matt Gaetz is in the process of working on legislation up in Washington, D.C., that will help facilitate research on the nationwide level. And we should see a lot of good benefit from them,” Pirozzolo said in the interview. “We’ve got congressmen that are actually dealing with this federal legislation right now.”
Gaetz did introduce the legislation, called Medical Cannabis Research Act, in 2018 and again the following year, but it was never voted on.
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Additionally, Pirozzolo also made two donations to Gaetz’s congressional campaigns, once in 2016 and again in 2017.
Meanwhile, despite calls from the Democratic side of the aisle, Republicans have been largely silent on Gaetz’s legal trouble, and the congressman has vowed not to resign.
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