Pensacola law firm fires back at Gaetz: Extortion claims are 'both false and defamatory'

Pensacola law firm fires back at Gaetz: Extortion claims are 'both false and defamatory'
Extortion is not a defense!' Florida prosecutor explains why Matt ...

A Pensacola law firm has fired back at Rep. Matt Gaetz's (R-Fla.) claims accusing one of its attorneys of extortion.

According to MyNBC15, Beggs & Lane Law: Attorneys and Counselors at Law released a statement in defense of its partner David L. McGee, also a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office located in the Northern District of Florida, who has been accused of extorting the Florida lawmaker for millions of dollars.

As reports of Gaetz's sex trafficking allegations were made public on Tuesday, the lawmaker appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" where he claimed McGee "attempted to extort $25 million from Gaetz and his family in exchange for McGee making the investigation 'go away.'"

On Wednesday, March 31, the law firm released a statement in response to Gaetz's claims.

"During his tenure with the Department of Justice, [McGee's] reputation for integrity and ethical conduct was impeccable," the statement read. "It has remained impeccable throughout his 25-year tenure with our firm. While he was with the DOJ he would never have entertained a scheme such as what Congressman Gaetz suggests nor would he today. Unsubstantiated allegations do not change that fact."



In a statement released on Tuesday, Gaetz detailed a meeting between his father and the FBI as he insisted that the goal was to catch McGee for the alleged actions. The statement reads, "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."

During the Fox News interview, Gaetz also claimed McGee was supposed to reach out to his family to receive a sizable portion of the extortion money — a $4.5 million down payment. When asked how Gaetz's decision to speak publicly could impact the investigation, attorney Eric Stevenson weighed in with his perspective.

"In our system, a criminal defendant or a suspect or a subject doesn't ever have to give a statement to law enforcement," he said. "But any statement they make can be used in court, even if they didn't make it to law enforcement. So it's quite possible that someone who gets charged with a crime and makes a statement in the news, that -- even if they don't take the stand -- what they said on the news gets played in court in front of a jury. So that's the real fear that I have for clients with them talking."

As of Thursday, April 1, Gaetz has not been charged in connection with the allegations but the investigation will be ongoing.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.