- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Federal investigators are looking into a Bahamas trip Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly took with a marijuana executive in late 2018 or early 2019 as part of its sex trafficking probe, according to a report late Wednesday.

CBS News reported that the Florida Republican took the trip with Jason Pirozzolo, a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon, who paid for travel expenses, accommodations and female escorts.

Prosecutors are trying to determine if the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of having sex with Mr. Gaetz, CBS News said.

A spokesman for Mr. Gaetz said he has never paid for sex, nor had sex with an underage girl.

“What began with blaring headlines about ‘sex trafficking’ has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults,” the spokesman told CBS News. “Yesterday, we even learned of some nonsense ‘pardon’ story that turned out to be false and today it’s just more euphemism.”

CBS News said investigators are probing whether Mr. Gaetz was accepting escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors.

Mr. Gaetz had introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act in April 2018 and again in January 2019, but it never came to a vote.

The lawmaker is under federal investigation amid accusations he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and violated sex trafficking laws.

Mr. Gaetz has vehemently denied wrongdoing and has not been criminally charged. He says he’s the victim of an extortion plot.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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