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Congressman Matt Gaetz Asked For Preemptive Pardon

By Allan Lengel

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said he did nothing wrong. Nonetheless, he sought a preemptive pardon in the final months of the Trump administration regarding an investigation by the Justice Department into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, the Washington Post reports. He never got it.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Former White House aide Johnny McEntee, according to people familiar with his testimony, told the Jan. 6 committee that Gaetz told him during a brief meeting “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him.”

McEntee added that Gaetz told him “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.” Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon, the Post reports.

The Justice Department probe centered around whether Gaetz paid for sex, paid for women to travel across state lines to have sex, and had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, the Post reports.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes but his associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, Fla., pleaded guilty in the spring of 2021 to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. Greenberg is cooperating with authorities.

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