Rep. Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testified Wednesday before a federal grand jury investigating him for sex crimes, a major development that suggests the Department of Justice may be moving closer to indicting him.
The ex-girlfriend, whose name is being withheld by NBC News to respect her privacy, has been in talks for months with prosecutors about an immunity deal. Under a possible deal, she would avoid prosecution for obstruction of justice in return for testifying in the investigation into whether Gaetz in 2017 had sex with a 17-year-old female for money and whether months later he and others violated a federal law prohibiting people for paying for prostitutes overseas.
Legal sources familiar with the case say Gaetz is being investigated for three distinct crimes: sex trafficking the 17-year-old; violating the Mann Act, which prohibits taking women across state lines for prostitution; and obstructing justice.
Gaetz, R-Fla., has not been charged with a crime and has denied all accusations, saying he never paid for sex and never had sex with a minor when he was an adult. The firebrand conservative has called the federal investigation into him a DOJ “witch hunt.”