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Justice Dept. reportedly adds prosecutors to Matt Gaetz probe

As the Justice Department adds prosecutors to its investigatory team, it seems Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is not having an especially good week.


By all appearances, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is not having an especially good week. On Monday, Politico reported that Joel Greenberg, an almost comically corrupt former tax official and one-time "wingman" to the GOP congressman, received extra time to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their investigation into Gaetz.

A federal prosecutor told the judge in this case that Greenberg was providing information on several "lines of investigation we are pursuing." The U.S. attorney's office sought additional time "because of the need to follow up on some of these leads." The prosecutor added that Greenberg has raised allegations that "take us to some places we did not anticipate."

Four days later, The New York Times published this report:

The Justice Department has added two top prosecutors from Washington to the child sex trafficking investigation of Representative Matt Gaetz, according to two people briefed on the matter, a sign of the complex and high-stakes nature of the inquiry into Mr. Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is one of former President Donald J. Trump's closest congressional allies.

The Times added that one of the prosecutors is a top leader of the public corruption unit, while the other is a public corruption investigator "with an expertise in child exploitation crimes." Both joined the investigation over the summer.

The reporting has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, and while the Florida congressman has acknowledged the Justice Department investigation, Gaetz has also denied any wrongdoing.

For those who may need a refresher, it's been nearly six months since The New York Times first reported on the Justice Department's investigation into the GOP congressman. According to the initial reporting, investigators were examining allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a minor, possibly violating federal sex-trafficking laws in the process.

What's more, as we've discussed, the scope of the scandal surrounding the Florida congressman has grown considerably since the initial revelations, and NBC News reported in June that among Gaetz's potential legal troubles is alleged obstruction of justice.

For their part, House Republican leaders have said they intend to overlook the Floridian's scandal unless and until he's criminally charged.

Let's also not forget that it was in late March when the congressman appeared on Fox News and said he had not asked Donald Trump — the president whom Gaetz has cheered in sycophantic and flamboyant fashion — for a pardon before Trump left office in January. A week later, the New York Times reported that Gaetz "privately asked" the Republican White House "for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies."

The report added, "In recent days, some Trump associates have speculated that Mr. Gaetz's request for a group pardon was an attempt to camouflage his own potential criminal exposure."

Trump did not ultimately give Gaetz a pre-emptive pardon. Should the congressman need one, he probably shouldn't bother appealing to the Biden White House for leniency.