The Department of Justice notified lawyers for Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and multiple witnesses on Wednesday that it will not pursue charges against the Congressman, CNN first reported. The decision ends a two-year investigation that clouded the high-profile conservative’s reputation.
In an interview on Fox News, Gaetz celebrated the DOJ’s decision.
They investigation itself started because “I’m effective at impacting legislation,” said Gaetz. “We all have to watch our back, because that’s where the target is.”
“I drew great inspiration from the way President Trump didn’t let the process become the punishment. He forged ahead,” noted Gaetz. “I also looked to the mentorship of my friend, Jim Jordan, who also faced totally false allegations and was in a position where he continued to lead critical Republican efforts.”
The DOJ opened an investigation into Gaetz under then-Attorney General Bill Barr at the end of 2020 for child sex trafficking and paying for sex with a minor. The case gained traction after a close associate of Gaetz, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to six federal crimes and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Two other witnesses also cooperated with the DOJ, including a Florida radio host who pleaded guilty to bribery in a separate case a former Capitol Hill staffer.
The DOJ also looked at other associates of Gaetz, including Dr. Jason Pirozzolo who went with the Congressman to the Bahamas in 2018. Pirozzolo lost his medical practice after reports gave his name to the public.
At the end of 2022, however, Greenberg’s cooperation appeared to conclude, and he was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December.
Prosecutors recommended against charges last year, and the DOJ made the final decision.
An indictment would have kneecapped the conservative Congressman, who has been a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and led the charge in delaying House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s confirmation until McCarthy agreed to concessions demanded by Freedom Caucus members.
The DOJ’s decision outraged many leftists who the mainstream press had groomed to expect an indictment.
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway observed last September that the long-running investigation based on an anonymously-sourced report succeeded only in limiting the Congressman’s influence at a crucial time.
Despite sourcing three anonymous people, amplifying guilt by association, and burying the admission that the “extent of his criminal exposure is unclear,” The New York Times ran a hit piece in March 2021 entitled: “Matt Gaetz Is Said to Face Justice Dept. Inquiry Over Sex With an Underage Girl.” Multiple mainstream news sources and late-night shows amplified the story, and the House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into the matter.
When Gaetz called former Vice President Mike Pence a nice guy who would never be president, Pence’s former chief-of-staff Marc Short predicted the Congressman would probably be spending 2024 in a prison for child sex trafficking.
A viral Twitter thread by user @HeywoodFloyd10 likened the unfounded mainstream media smear to the tactic known as Zersetzung used by the East German Stasi, Revolver News reported.
The term means “disintegration” or “decomposition” and was a tactic the secret police used to socially and emotionally destroy dissenters without resorting to arrest.
Many Republican Members of Congress vocally supported former President Donald Trump. But as Revolver noted, Gaetz fully embraced Trump’s break from the bipartisan foreign policy orthodoxy.
“At times, I think the process is the punishment,” Gaetz told journalist Glenn Greenwald. “People try to smear you, say things about you that aren’t true, and hope that it distracts from the mission.”
This news and commentary by Jacob Grandstaff originally appeared on Valiant News.