Embattled Rep Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend is granted IMMUNITY by prosecutors after she testified

By Hanan Redwan Published on January 18, 2022
Embattled Rep Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend is granted IMMUNITY by prosecutors after she testified

Prosecutors granted an ex-girlfriend of Rep. Matt Gaetz immunity after testifying about a 2018 trip they took to the Bahamas with an 18-year-old girl Gaetz denies trafficking.

The ex, who is not named to protect her privacy, testified to a federal grand jury in Orlando last Wednesday. She, Gaetz, and two other women - including an 18-year-old Gaetz was also having sex with - made the Caribbean trip four years ago.

It is unclear what the ex said in court, but prosecutors are trying to ascertain whether the 18-year-old was 17 when she began seeing Gaetz. That would make her younger than the age of consent in Florida. He denies wrongdoing.

Investigators are still seeking the former teenager at the centre of the enquiry.

Before today's ruling, the ex was seen as a potential key witness to claims Gaetz had sex with an underage girl who was trafficked, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

According to multiple sources, the unnamed ex-girlfriend and the other woman allegedly travelled to the Bahamas with Gaetz in 2018, along with a third woman with whom Gaetz was in a sexual relationship.

Investigators are also assessing whether any of the three women on the trip were paid and were illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Florida for sex with the congressman.

In late 2020, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into allegations that Gaetz, 39, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in violation of federal sex trafficking laws, which Gaetz has repeatedly denied. In April 2021, the House Ethics Committee also announced an investigation.

One of the sources said Gaetz's ex-girlfriend possesses information connected to the investigation of both the sex trafficking and obstruction allegations. No further details of that information have emerged.

Gaetz is married to Ginger Luckey, the sister of Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, who he wed last year.

'This may be a willing participant who has a smart lawyer who sought an immunity deal from the government,' said the former prosecutor and CBS News legal analyst Rikki Kleiman. 'The government does not give immunity blindly; they know what they're getting in exchange.'

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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