Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) released a statement on Tuesday denying allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. The Justice Department is investigating Gaetz for the possible relationship, according to the New York Times.

Gaetz’s statement declared that “no part of the allegations against me are true” and claims that he is the target of an “ongoing extortion investigation.”

“Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals,”  Gaetz said in his statement.

Gaetz then in separate interview Tuesday doubled down on his claims. “The person doesn’t exist. I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false. The allegation is, as I read in the New York Times is, I have traveled with some 17-year-old in some relationship. That is false and records will bear that out to be false,” Gaetz told Fox News.

Gaetz then specifically called out former Department of Justice prosecutor David McGee for attempting to extort him, comments McGee has shrugged off.

“It is completely false. It’s a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking of minors. I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors,” McGee said in a Tuesday interview.

Federal authorities are investigating Gaetz in connection to several existing allegations of sex trafficking against Florida politicians. Former Central Florida country official Joel Greenberg was previously arrested in 2020 on sex crime charges including trafficking a minor. Sources then say that former Attorney General Bill Barr opened an investigation into Gaetz before he stepped down at the end of former President Donald Trumps term.

A Jacksonville FBI spokesperson has since said, “The FBI declines to confirm nor deny the existence or status of an investigation. We refer you to the Department of Justice for further comment regarding this report.”

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