New evidence appears to support allegations that a federal executive department employee helped criminal gangs force a Republican from Florida to give away large sums of money.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) went public with information that he claims will prove a former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) worker colluded with powerful criminal groups to extort millions of dollars from him and his loved ones.
Gaetz provided several cell phone messages, emails, and government documents to the Washington Examiner that suggests Bob Kent and his attorney, Beggs & Lane Partner David McGee, wanted the money to help free former FBI agent Robert Levinson from prison in Iran.
According to a document entitled “Project Homecoming,” the Republican was required to deposit $25 million to a bank account the law firm had set up. McGee would then allegedly use the amount to cover the ransom needed to release Levinson, a “political prisoner for the past 14 years.”
“Our strategy for congressman Gaetz to mitigate his legal, and political, troubles would be for him–or someone else–to arrange for the funds required to obtain the immediate release of Robert Levinson from captivity in Iran,” the document said.
“In exchange for the funds being arranged, and upon release of Robert Levinson, congressman Gaetz shall be given credit for facilitating the release of Mr. Levinson. Congressman Gaetz shall also be on the plane that returns Mr. Levinson to freedom and shall be the person to ‘reunite’ Mr. Levinson with his family and bring Mr. Levinson back to the United States,” the document added.
DOJ is separately investigating whether the 38-year-old congressman breached any federal sex trafficking regulations during his alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl. At the time, the Republican was single and allegedly paid for his unnamed companion’s airfare and accommodation expenses.
“The allegations against me are false [and] the extortion of my family by a former DOJ official is real,” he said on Twitter.
Gaetz urged the DOJ to cooperate with the FBI investigation fully and provide all available evidence to help prove just who tried to extort money from him.
“DOJ has the tapes, please release them,” he said.
The Hill speculated the probe was part of a broader investigation into Gaetz’s political ally and former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is charged with child sex trafficking and paying at least one female minor for adult services.
Gaetz was not charged with any wrongdoing at the time of publication, according to The Hill.