A former adviser to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on April 5 said FBI agents recently approached him with allegations he knew to be false, causing him to believe that the recent claims against his ex-boss are also untrue.
Agents went to the home of Nathan Nelson on March 31 to question him about accusations against Gaetz, which reportedly include a claim that he paid for sex with a minor. But the agents asserted to Nelson they were told that he’d resigned from Gaetz’s office because of knowledge about wrongdoing.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities,” Nelson, who worked with Gaetz for more than six years when he was a state lawmaker and another four years in Congress, told reporters during a press conference.
“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 added.
Nelson said his departure in the fall of 2020 was planned and he wanted people to know what he believes to be true based on his encounter with the agents. He said he remains “loosely affiliated” with Gaetz’s office as an unpaid adviser. He said he hasn’t spoken to Gaetz in several months.
The FBI referred The Epoch Times to the Department of Justice when asked about the reported Gaetz investigation; the DOJ didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The briefing from Nelson was the latest effort to refute allegations against Gaetz and his office. After the allegations first became public through an anonymously sourced report in The New York Times, Gaetz went on Fox News to say his family were victims of an extortion attempt.
“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 a statement.
“The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
Documents published by the Washington Examiner indicated a group tried to obtain $25 million from Gaetz’s father, former state Sen. Don Gaetz, in return for making Rep. Gaetz’s “future legal and political problems go away.”
Don McGee, a Florida lawyer allegedly involved in the scheme, has denied Gaetz’s counter-accusations. Another man, former Air Force officer Bob Kent, said on April 5 he was part of the group but denied that what happened amounted to extortion.