DOJ investigates Matt Gaetz for Bahamas trip with pot purveyor who allegedly paid for escorts: CBS

DOJ investigates Matt Gaetz for Bahamas trip with pot purveyor who allegedly paid for escorts: CBS
Rep. Matt Gaetz

The Dept. of Justice's investigation into U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz includes a trip the Florida Republican took with a marijuana merchant, physician, and donor who allegedly "may have paid" for airline flights, hotel stays, and escorts.

CBS News reports "investigators are scrutinizing a trip Congressman Matt Gaetz took to the Bahamas with Jason Pirozzolo, a marijuana entrepreneur, Orlando hand surgeon and donor to Gaetz."

"Multiple sources familiar with the federal probe tell CBS News Pirozzolo and Gaetz traveled to the Bahamas in late 2018 or early 2019 and Pirozzolo paid for travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts," CBS's Major Garrett reports.

"Investigators also want to know if Gates was accepting paid escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors," Garrett adds. "In a 2018 podcast Pirozzolo highlighted Gaetz's push for legislation expanding federal cannabis research, something that could have been a boon to Pirozzolo and other marijuana merchants."

Former federal prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown told CBS, "traveling across state lines is what creates a federal 'hook' for a prosecution."

It "doesn't matter" if Gaetz "personally paid them as long as he knows someone is doing that," Devlin-Brown says. "If there's evidence of a quid pro quo, that the Congressman was provided with benefits in return for him sponsoring some legislation that's of interest to the donor, that's a federal crime."

"Investigators also want to know if Gaetz was accepting paid escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors," Garrett reports.

Gaetz has denied the allegations.

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