Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) advised a former White Home aide that he sought a preemptive presidential pardon in a intercourse trafficking investigation, in line with testimony earlier than members of the Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol assault, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

A probe launched within the waning days of the Trump administration is reportedly nonetheless in search of to find out if Gaetz broke federal legislation by allegedly recruiting girls on-line for paid intercourse, together with a teenager. He has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a criminal offense.

A few of the alleged interactions with girls occurred with the assistance of former Gaetz “wingman” Joel Greenberg. The one-time Seminole County tax collector pleaded guilty last year to six crimes, together with trafficking a minor. He has been cooperating with federal investigators, and turned over “years of Venmo and Money App transactions and thousands of photos and movies,” ABC News reported final 12 months.

Johnny McEntee, a White Home aide, just lately testified that Gaetz advised him he sought a presidential pardon from former President Donald Trump’s then-Chief of Employees Mark Meadows within the trafficking investigation, sources aware of the testimony advised the Put up.

McEntee recounted that Gaetz advised him “he didn’t do something incorrect, however they’re attempting to make his life hell, and you understand, if the president may give him a pardon, that might be nice,” the Put up reported.

Gaetz didn’t specify that it was the Justice Division conducting the probe, however McEntee stated he assumed that was the investigation he was referring to, the Put up reported.

The testimony is the primary linking Gaetz to a particular request for a pardon within the trafficking probe, the outlet famous. The Jan. 6 panel revealed this summer time that Gaetz was amongst a minimum of 5 Republican lawmakers who sought broad pardons from Trump to guard them from potential rebellion crimes investigations may uncover.

Neither McEntee nor Meadows responded to the Put up’s request for remark. A consultant for Gaetz identified that the Republican lawmaker by no means requested Trump immediately for a pardon, however didn’t touch upon a request submitted by way of Meadows.

Gaetz “mentioned pardons for a lot of different individuals publicly and privately on the finish of President Donald Trump’s first time period,” the spokesperson wrote in an e mail to the Put up. “As for himself, President Trump addressed this malicious rumor greater than a 12 months in the past stating, ‘Congressman Matt Gaetz has by no means requested me for a pardon.’”

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