Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz's communications director has resigned after the lawmaker was hit with further claims amid the Justice Department's investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.
Gaetz vehemently denies all of the accusations made against him and says he is "not resigning."
What are the details?
MSNBC first reported Friday that Luke Ball, Gaetz's communications director, "quit out of principle," according to an unnamed person familiar with the matter.
Ball has not yet responded to several requests for comment on the matter, but Gaetz's office issued a statement later in the day saying, "The Office of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it would be best to part ways. We thank him for his time in our office, and we wish him the best moving forward."
On Tuesday, Gaetz acknowledged to Axios that the DOJ is investigating him over allegations of sexual misconduct, after The New York Times reported the probe and claims that the lawmaker had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old. The Times noted that "investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws" by allegedly paying for the minor to travel with him.
Gaetz, 38, said that accusations are completely false, and claimed they were drummed up as part of an extortion plot from criminals trying to get $25 million from his father. He told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that the man who led the scheme is a former Justice Department official named David McGee. McGee denies Gaetz's claims.
On Tuesday, The Times reported in a follow-up piece that the DOJ is focusing on Gaetz and indicted former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg's "involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments" from the men in exchange for drug-fueled hotel romps. Greenberg, an ally of Gaetz's, currently faces several felony charges including sex trafficking of a minor.
The story goes on to say:
In some cases, Mr. Gaetz asked women to help find others who might be interested in having sex with him and his friends, according to two people familiar with those conversations. Should anyone inquire about their relationships, one person said, Mr. Gaetz told the women to say that he had paid for hotel rooms and dinners as part of their dates.
Gaetz's office said in response to the report that "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex," and the lawmaker "refutes all the disgusting allegations completely." It added that "Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life."
CNN then reported late Tuesday that Gaetz allegedly showed House colleagues nude photos and videos of females while bragging that he had slept with the women.
Gaetz denied all the reports, and told The Washington Examiner in a text, "I'm not resigning."
The Daily Mail reported Friday that Gaetz "is expected to be indicted within the next few weeks," 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."