- Matt Gaetz’s spokesperson, Luke Ball, has resigned.
- The resignation comes as Gaetz faces a growing scandal over whether he broke sex-trafficking laws.
- Gaetz denied the allegations against him and said he never paid women for sex.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz’s spokesperson, Luke Ball, has resigned amid a growing firestorm over whether the Florida lawmaker had sexual relationships with underage women and broke federal sex-trafficking laws.
NBC News first reported on Ball’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter, who said he left his job out of principle.
Gaetz’s office put out a statement after, saying: “The Office of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it would be best to part ways. We thank him for his time in our office, and we wish him the best moving forward.”
Ball did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 2019 and broke federal sex-trafficking laws.
A slew of other details about the investigation have surfaced in the days since.
- 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 who was charged with 14 counts and pleaded not guilty.
- Investigators are 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.
Gaetz has denied ever paying for sex and claims the investigation into him is part of an elaborate scheme to extort his family for $25 million.
“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex,” his office told The Times on Thursday. “Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life.”
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