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Former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill in a new Vanity Fair op-ed said that GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz should resign from Congress “immediately” if there’s “even a fraction of truth” to allegations he broke federal sex trafficking laws, had a sexual relationship with a minor, and showed colleagues nude photos of women without their permission.
“Let me state it as clearly as possible: If, despite his denials, Matt Gaetz did have sex with a minor, if he did provide girls and young women with drugs and money and gifts in exchange for sex, if he did ask these girls and young women to recruit other women for the same purpose, and if he did show his colleagues images of nude women without their consent, he needs to be held responsible,” Hill wrote on Monday.
“Some of these actions are criminal and some of them should be. All are morally reprehensible and unacceptable for a lawmaker,” she added. “If there is even a fraction of truth to these reports, he should resign immediately.”
The Florida Republican defended Hill in 2019 after tabloids and right-wing media published nude photos of her and a campaign staffer. Hill, who resigned from Congress amid the scandal over the photos, said her ex-husband leaked the photos without her consent.
The scandal Gaetz is embroiled in “involves accusations of the same crime of which I was a victim: the nonconsensual sharing of intimate images,” Hill wrote, noting that the GOP lawmaker “is one of the few colleagues who came to my defense when it happened to me.”
“Matt was the first member of Congress who publicly and unapologetically defended me, saying that while I might have made mistakes, I was a victim in this circumstance,” Hill said. “At one of the darkest moments of my life, when I was feeling more alone than I ever had, Matt stood up for me — and that really mattered.”
In spite of their “unlikely” friendship, Hill underscored that he should resign if there’s even a semblance of truth to the allegations he faces — including reports he showed “at least two lawmakers photos and videos of naked women” who were likely unaware the images were “being passed around and ogled by Republican congressmen.”
“If true, Matt had engaged in the very practice he’d defended me from,” Hill wrote. “Sharing intimate images or videos of someone without their consent should be illegal, plain and simple.”
The New York Times first reported on the existence of a Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor.
Since then, a slew of new details have emerged, even as Gaetz continues to deny the allegations against him and claims his family is the victim of an elaborate, multimillion dollar extortion scheme.
- In addition to looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old in 2019, investigators are examining if he paid for her to travel with him and broke federal sex-trafficking laws by doing so.
- According to The Times, the 17-year-old at the heart of the Gaetz probe is the same girl who was involved in a felony sex-trafficking count against Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector Gaetz is associated with. Investigators zeroed in on Gaetz as part of their broader investigation into Greenberg.
- The feds are also said to be examining whether Gaetz used campaign money to fund travel and other expenses for women.
- The Times reported that the inquiry is focusing on Gaetz and Greenberg’s interactions with “multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments.”
- One person familiar with the conversations told The Times that Gaetz told the women to say that he paid for dinners and hotel rooms as part of their dates if anyone asked about the nature of their relationships.
- People familiar with the encounters told The Times that some of the men and women, including Gaetz, took MDMA before having sex, and that in some cases the Florida lawmaker asked the women to find others who may want to have sex with him and his friends.
- ABC News reported that the sex probe is focusing not just on Gaetz’s conduct in his home state of Florida but in other states as well.
Separately, CNN reported last week that Gaetz showed colleagues nude photos of women he said he’d slept with and boasted about his sexual exploits. The report said there’s no evidence that the photos are connected to the investigation into the Florida Republican.
Gaetz has also been accused of creating and participating in a sex game when he served in the Florida state legislature, in which he and his colleagues got points for sleeping with aides, interns, and married colleagues.
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