Patterico's Pontifications

4/2/2021

More on The Matt Gaetz Saga

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:56 am



[guest post by Dana]

This is like watching one of the most bizarre train wrecks ever:

A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times.

Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said.

One of the women who had sex with both men also agreed to have sex with an unidentified associate of theirs in Florida Republican politics, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. Mr. Greenberg had initially contacted her online and introduced her to Mr. Gaetz, the person said. …

The Times has reviewed receipts from Cash App, a mobile payments app, and Apple Pay that show payments from Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg to one of the women, and a payment from Mr. Greenberg to a second woman. The women told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two people familiar with the conversations. [Ed. You have got to be kidding! Apple Pay and Cash App?? I just can’t wrap my mind around that...]

In encounters during 2019 and 2020, Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg instructed the women to meet at certain times and places, often at hotels around Florida, and would tell them the amount of money they were willing to pay, according to the messages and interviews.

Moreover:

Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN, including while on the House floor. The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.

“It was a point of pride,” one of the sources said of Gaetz.

Gaetz has denied the allegations:

“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex,” Gaetz’s office said in a statement to The New York Times. “Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life.”

And then, as if we couldn’t hate politicians more than we already do, reportedly there was a boys’ club in the Florida State House in which Gaetz competed for the most notches on the bedposts:

Sources said Gaetz was part of a group of young male lawmakers who created a “game” to score their female sexual conquests, which granted “points” for various targets such as interns, staffers or other female colleagues in the state House. One of the targets of the scoring system was a group the lawmakers had heard were “virgins,” according to a source.

Time will tell where the truth and the lies begin and end in this sordid mess, and whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year old and paid for her to travel with him.

–Dana

52 Responses to “More on The Matt Gaetz Saga”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (fd537d)

  2. Prediction:

    1) He’s telling the truth about the extortion scheme (although having seen the purported letter, I’m not sure it’s extortion rather than horse-trading).

    2) He’s also a complete slime-ball who at the very least did some very unethical things (I won’t speculate on their legality)

    3) MAGA world will choose to use 1 to ignore 2

    nate_w (1f1d55)

  3. nate, exactly. One of the reasons it’s bad for your leaders to be creepy sleazes is that they will get blackmailed for it. Matt thought that was a defense, but it’s actually the fundamental reason (not to diminish morality as a concept) we can’t have leaders like him.

    Someone should have told Matt to get his hair cut so he didn’t look like bozo the clown. Then he could probably get a girlfriend just by being a congressman. Sad!

    Dustin (4237e0)

  4. nate_w:

    I am reading that FOX News has not mentioned him for two days (since the weird Tucker Carlson interview). Also, after a quick search on OANN and Newsmx (where he was floating the idea of taking a job), there’s also nothing about the scandal either. Circling the wagons.

    Dana (fd537d)

  5. In the Ticker Carlson interview, Matt Gaetz said he had been on a double date with Tucker Carlson in which, it sounded like to the news reporter, he said he had brought the 17-year old. Was he trying to say he didn’t take her to a hotel room, or that someone else picked her up?

    He also said he wasn’t the only one on that broadcast who was falsely accused of having sexual intercourse with someone. Tucker Carlson said, more or less: “That was 20 years ago, and done by a crazy woman!”

    Tucker Carlson also said he didn’t know what dinner he was talking about.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/31/media/tucker-carlson-matt-gaetz-reaction/index.html

    “You and I went to dinner about two years ago,” Gaetz told Carlson. “Your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her.”

    Carlson immediately denied knowledge of the dinner.

    “I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” Carlson said.

    Sammy Finkelman (6975b4)

  6. From what I understand, it’s easy to determine whether or not this girl in question was 17.

    If I’m not mistaken, this investigation (the sex trafficking one) started over a year ago? If so, that seems like a looooong time to wait to charge Gaetz.

    whembly (446c04)

  7. From what I understand, it’s easy to determine whether or not this girl in question was 17.

    What makes it easy? Wouldn’t the FBI already followed up on this?

    Dana (fd537d)

  8. 6. Whether she was under 18 is not the only question. The other question is: What did Gaetz do? He could have been escorting her for someone else.

    In such a case, to be guilty of a crime, he has to know she is only 17, and what is going to happen as well. Ignorance, and even lack of definite knowledge, is a defense.

    And what is his defense to prostitution? That non cash items don’t count or that even cash doesn’t count if it is not characterized as being strictly for what she does?

    Sammy Finkelman (6975b4)

  9. Maybe politicians should have to wear bodycams, live to Youtube.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. I get the impulse, Kevin, but it’s important *sometimes* that politicians conduct negotiations that are secret while they are ongoing. That’s a big part of how compromises are developed. Full time bodycams would interfere with that.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  11. I’m surprised Gaetz hasn’t tried to tie this to Cuomo’s scandal, i.e. leaking the Gaetz investigation to divert attention away from Cuomo. A sex trafficking investigation is certainly more salacious than harassment in workplace.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  12. This is such a weird situation to suss out. Gaetz is clearly a douchebag and an embarrassment to his party and — if this can even be contemplated — to the United States Congress. Shame on his constituents for voting him in.

    On the other hand, I am now well beyond the point of trusting salacious details based upon anonymous sources which are reported by the New York Times and CNN, even if the general outline of the story seems legit.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  13. Sammy, it wasn’t actually clear to me in that interview that he was saying his date was the same person.

    It kind of sounded like he was referring to a different incident as an example of how people were out to get him.

    nate (1f1d55)

  14. Easily blackmailable guys like Gaetz are a feature of MAGA-land – he’s one of the “best people”. You also see this pattern in other authoritarian regimes. Let them play their petty, gross games abusing people who “don’t matter”, but get pictures. Then you own them.

    Dave Pecker’s empire ran on that, and there was Falwell and the other games Cohen disclosed. I bet there’s an set of file folders with more than a few congress critter names on them in a safe in Mar a Lago.

    john (cd2753)

  15. @12

    This is such a weird situation to suss out. Gaetz is clearly a douchebag and an embarrassment to his party and — if this can even be contemplated — to the United States Congress. Shame on his constituents for voting him in.

    On the other hand, I am now well beyond the point of trusting salacious details based upon anonymous sources which are reported by the New York Times and CNN, even if the general outline of the story seems legit.

    JVW (ee64e4) — 4/2/2021 @ 9:45 am

    Isn’t that the story for much of the Trump years?

    Have we learned enough yet?

    whembly (2e3fb6)

  16. It’s Florida Man’s own fascist colleagues who are ratting him out, apparently.

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. whoever is blackmailing Gaetz is clearly pulling out all stops to destroy him.

    Why? Think it through. This entity is clearly smart. They are exposing themselves somewhat. Some of these stories, the ‘get the virgin intern’ seem exaggerated.

    The only good reason is to be effective in additional blackmail of other leaders, right? Someone else is watching this as a warning and signing up for a HELOC.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  18. Have we learned enough yet?

    Duncan Hunter was unavailable for comment.

    Dave (1bb933)

  19. Problem not Lolitas, comrades, problem prima donna.

    Is same problem Comrade Cruz, except Cruz smart enough not supply own kompromat.

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. The first sign that Gaetz will resign:

    Gaetz says he won’t resign

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  21. The first sign that Gaetz will resign:

    Gaetz says he won’t resign

    So true, that. Though I wouldn’t put it past him to try to instead announce that he won’t seek reelection in 2022 due to a desire to return to the private sector. Wasn’t that what the item about Gaetz possibly joining Newsmax was all about?

    It would interesting to bet a parlay card with Cuomo & Gaetz: Will either of them be on the ballot in 2022? Will either of them be forced to resign and if so, by what date? Will either of them be removed from office by their colleagues (yeah, a real farfetched scenario, though the GOP could at least strip of his committee assignments)?

    JVW (ee64e4)

  22. @20-

    The suspect is now dead .

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  23. In what way is this whole Gaetz mess anything other than a sideshow?

    John B Boddie (d795fd)

  24. Choices:

    1. Remnant January 6er
    2. Islamofascist
    3. SE DC/ Anacostia / Carjack gone Awry
    4. Edgy person calling attention to broken borders

    urbanleftbehind (6634bd)

  25. Tying a Congresspersons possible descent into sexual debauchery on Trump seems odd given the history of congress in Congress.

    steveg (02d731)

  26. Swamp gas burns yet the Swalwell hoopla flamed out. Still, as baseball is back, would love to see the ‘players’ on Lindsey Graham’s phone– just to know who’s doing the pitching and who’s doing the catching.

    And the Swamp Party Royalists wonder why the Capitol was stormed.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  27. Gaetz had a subtle, Clintonesque tell in his interview with Tucker Carlson. He referred to the girl in question as a “17-year-old woman”.

    norcal (01e272)

  28. Daily Mail, so take it with a grain of salt:

    “Gaetz’s arrest is said to be imminent after the alleged victim, who has not been named, testified before a Florida grand jury this week saying she had sex with the conservative Republican before she turned 18, http://DailyMail.com has learned. “

    Dana (fd537d)

  29. Do you know who’s seriously thanking God for Gaetz’s disgusting behavior? Gov. Cuomo, that’s who. Maybe if this blows up even more (arrest, indictment), he can catch a break and get out of the sleazebag spotlight for a breather…

    Dana (fd537d)

  30. @31. Yep. He’ll ride it out.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  31. Choices:

    Paranoid/schizophrenic Nation of Islam convert, convinced that the FBI and CIA were secretly drugging him and performing surgical procedures on him.

    Dave (1bb933)

  32. Aside from all the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and– STS-25 & STS-107 aside- shuttle launches, very little good ever comes out of Florida.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  33. @35. Always wrong; never in doubt:

    Fox’s Brett Baier did a whole story segment on Gaetz just this afternoon.

    L. O. L.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  34. It’s Florida Man’s own fascist colleagues who are ratting him out, apparently.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Then perhaps you should educate yourself.

    In this context I mean: A member of a right-wing nationalist political movement that seeks the overthrow of democracy and the rule of law, and their replacement by submission to an unelected authoritarian cult figure.

    Every “republican” who signed onto the lawsuit to throw out tens of millions of legal votes on the pretext of an disgraceful lie fits the definition.

    Every Jan 6er fits the definition.

    Every “republican” who voted to invalidate the legitimate electoral votes of tens of millions of Americans fits the definition.

    Every “republican” who voted to absolve their fascist cult-leader in spite of his manifest guilt fits the definition.

    Any anyone who ever casts a vote for one of the aforementioned in the future also fits the definition.

    I, Comrade Dave, have spoken.

    Dave (1bb933)

  36. Well if they were using aps to pay the ladies, there will be records if that. Also if they were using aps to pay the ladies, there are probably other records because clearly they weren’t too worried about evidence trails.

    Nic (896fdf)

  37. These are not the best and brightest of criminals. Ego fluffing got in the way of caution. He deserves to go down on stupidity alone.

    Dana (fd537d)

  38. In this context I mean: A member of a right-wing nationalist political movement that seeks the overthrow of democracy and the rule of law, and their replacement by submission to an unelected authoritarian cult figure.

    Every “republican” who signed onto the lawsuit to throw out tens of millions of legal votes on the pretext of an disgraceful lie fits the definition.

    Every Jan 6er fits the definition.

    Every “republican” who voted to invalidate the legitimate electoral votes of tens of millions of Americans fits the definition.

    Every “republican” who voted to absolve their fascist cult-leader in spite of his manifest guilt fits the definition.

    Any anyone who ever casts a vote for one of the aforementioned in the future also fits the definition.

    I, Comrade Dave, have spoken.

    Dave (1bb933) — 4/2/2021 @ 7:01 pm

    I’m not going to waste a second of my life defending those bastards, they deserve whatever you want to throw at them.

    I just kinda wish people would stop using fascist to describe … whoever Antifa is mad at, Hitler, George W. Bush, I guess election stealing insurrectionists. does fascist mean white supremacist or coopting corporations with government or does it mean “out of many, one?”

    Truth is, it has turned into this non-term that means ‘I really really despise these guys’. And granted, why not despise the people who wanted to ruin the country? And had 1/6 worked, it really would have ruined the country.

    But the word is both loaded and without certain meaning.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  39. A loser who at age 35 finally raised enough money in campaign donations from Trump supporters to buy women and went on a binge. If he had had a richer daddy, who knows how far he could have gotten?

    nk (1d9030)

  40. #42
    I’m going to wait another week before throwing the the first stone. Gathering stones to throw is another thing entirely

    steveg (02d731)

  41. life can be so unfair mr nk

    Dave (1bb933)

  42. But the word is both loaded and without certain meaning.

    I think it describes, better than any other, just what these vermin tried to pull (and have largely gotten away with).

    Dave (1bb933)

  43. It’s fine, I’m not defending them. Just it’s a word that people can’t understand anymore. Even if you know what you mean. I just think the word fascist is no longer communication other than “real bad”

    Dustin (4237e0)

  44. @42. Given the price of admission these days– Disneyworld/Orlando.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  45. Alternative theory: This guy thought he could take on the Cheneys?

    nk (1d9030)

  46. when you play the game of thrones you win or you die

    Dave (1bb933)

  47. #48
    Winner

    Cheney says: You think you can play in this league? Child please (OK Its Deion Sanders)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGqkuEL0EM0

    steveg (02d731)

  48. Two bits of news that weren’t mentioned here previously:

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/04/matt-gaetz-joel-greenberg-sex-trafficking-investigation-florida.html

    …If I go into the tax collector’s office for a new driver’s license and I hand in my old one, they would throw it in a basket and then they would destroy it later. But what Joel Greenberg would do, according to the authorities, is take the IDs out of the basket and then he would use them to make fake IDs for himself. So the federal authorities find these IDs in his car, and obviously that leads to a second indictment against him for identity theft…. So it appears to be the case that Greenberg was using his office as tax collector to create false identities potentially for this girl….Joel Greenberg would often enter his office after hours, and on one such occasion on a Saturday in April of 2018, according to a source who spoke to us, he was seen entering the office with Matt Gaetz, interacting with the baskets where these discarded IDs were kept, and then entering the back room of the office. Matt Gaetz was present for all of this. Multiple reports have since indicated that that is one of the inciting incidents in the investigation that’s going on into Gaetz right now. The New York Times reported this week that the same girl who Joel Greenberg is accused formally of trafficking is the one that Matt Gaetz is suspected of trafficking.

    Also:

    Joel Greenberg is scheduled to stand trial in June. Does that give you any timeline here about what might happen next with Gaetz?

    I don’t necessary expect that trial date to stick. He just was indicted again this past week on allegations related to embezzlement from his office and also having essentially created shell companies to steal COVID relief funds, which is an entirely separate allegation against him that we had gotten into.

    He’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    Sammy Finkelman (6975b4)

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