- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Thursday night called for the resignation of fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, making him the first GOP lawmaker to do so.

Matt Gaetz needs to resign,” Mr. Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, wrote in a tweet linking to a Daily Beast article that claims Mr. Gaetz paid $900 to an accused sex trafficker.

Mr. Kinzinger is the first Republican to publicly call for the Florida Republican to step down from Congress. Most GOP officials have been mum about the allegations, although earlier this week former President Donald Trump defended Mr. Gaetz in a statement.

A number of Democrats have called for his resignation, but Mr. Gaetz has refused to step down, adamantly insisting he’s here to stay.

The Justice Department is probing allegations Mr. Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and violated federal sex trafficking laws.

Mr. Gaetz has vehemently denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime.

Instead, he has insisted he’s the victim of a bizarre extortion plot.

Mr. Kinzinger’s tweet comes after Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County Florida tax collector and friend of Mr. Gaetz, began talking to federal prosecutors about a possible plea deal.

Mr. Greenberg has been hit with 33 charges in federal court in Florida, including stalking, sex trafficking of a minor, and wire fraud.

At a hearing in the case Thursday, defense attorney Fritz Scheller and federal prosecutors told a judge they expect to strike a plea deal.

“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Mr. Scheller told reporters after the hearing.

When asked if his client has the goods on the Florida congressman, Mr. Schiller shot back, “he’s uniquely positioned.”

As the criminal probe continues to create legal and political jeopardy for Mr. Gaetz, he is making public appearances.

On Friday night, Mr. Gaetz is expected to headline a dinner for the Women for America First group at the Trump National Doral in Miami.

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

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