The congressman has denied the allegations and has leveled counter-allegations that he and his family are victims of an extortion plot, a response that Gaetz teased out on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's show last week just after the bombshell story broke.
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has vehemently denied the allegations. The alleged extortion attempt came on March 16, about eight months after the Department of Justice reportedly began its investigation. Gaetz claimed the group said they needed the money to free former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Levinson from captivity in Iran.
Levinson was declared dead by the USA government previous year.
"No, I am absolutely not resigning", he wrote Monday in one of his first public comments about the allegations. Though he didn't say it outright, those issues seem to be the recently surfaced claims the lawmaker paid women for sex-including, possibly, an underage girl-and misused campaign funds.
My personal life is and always has been conducted on my own time and my own dime.
Gaetz's broadside defense against his critics and the DOJ investigation does not acknowledge the reported beginnings of the sex trafficking inquiry-or mention Barr whatsoever. "Consensual adult relationships are not illegal", Gaetz said.
He also predicted, "I'm sure some partisan crooks in Merrick Garland's Justice Department want to pervert the truth and the law to go after me". Nathan Nelson, a military adviser who left Gaetz's office in October, said he was questioned about whether he'd left that job because he knew of Gaetz's "involvement in illegal activities".
Kent described a sequence of improbable purported events that he said led him to solicit money from Gaetz's dad: namely, that he misinterpreted a "joke" by a federal agent who said the US government would believe his intel on an Iranian-linked militant's activities if the former intelligence officer could track Levinson down.
"I'm here this morning to state that nothing could be farther from the truth". The private law firm where McGee works said in a public statement that Gaetz's allegations were false and defamatory.
"This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and merely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative", Nelson said.
Nelson left Gaetz's office in late October of a year ago, The New York Post reported, in what he called a "planned departure" in order to support "the military missions in a private capacity" in the Florida Panhandle.