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Matt Gaetz ordered to testify about claim he had sex with underage girl, says report

Matt Gaetz ordered to testify about claim he had sex with underage girl, says report

Matt Gaetz has been served with a subpoena to take part in a deposition in a civil lawsuit connected to allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, ABC News reports.

The subpoena is part of a lawsuit brought by a friend of the Florida Republican representative, targeting the young woman and others.

The subpoena was issued by lawyers representing the young woman who is now in her 20s. The allegations were at the centre of an investigation by the Department of Justice lasting years into the claims that Mr Gaetz had sex with her when she was a minor, according to ABC.

Mr Gaetz’s deposition has been scheduled for 5 April. It’s part of a larger defamation and racketeering lawsuit brought by Chris Dorworth, a friend of Mr Gaetz and a former Florida House member and lobbyist, against the woman and others.

An attorney for the woman, John Clune, told ABC he was able to “confirm that Matt Gaetz has been served for his deposition”.

During the deposition, Mr Gaetz may be asked while under oath about the alleged sexual activity.

A spokesman for Mr Gaetz told The Independent: “Congressman Gaetz received a witness subpoena in an ongoing lawsuit between outside parties. He is not being sued, and he is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in this matter.”

The allegations initially came to light in March 2021, with Mr Gatez immediately rejecting the claims, saying that the 17-year-old “doesn’t exist” during an appearance on Fox News.

“They’re saying there is a 17-year-old girl who you had a relationship with, is that true? Who is this girl?” then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked.

“The person doesn’t exist. I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old, that is totally false,” Mr Gaetz said at the time.

Court documents show that Mr Dorworth filed a lawsuit last year against Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Mr Gaetz, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2022 after he pled guilty to a number of charges, including sex trafficking a minor.

In the lawsuit, Mr Dorworth alleges there was an effort to erroneously accuse him of “child sex trafficking, sex with a minor, prostitution, obstruction of justice, and an illegal ghost candidate scheme”.

Mr Gaetz is not part of the lawsuit, but it mentions him and the allegations he has faced and rejected. The lawsuit argues that the now-young woman “falsely implicated Dorworth, Gaetz, and others in sexual impropriety”.

The young woman is referred to in the suit as “AB”. She has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“Mr Dorworth seeks to recast AB as Mr Greenberg’s partner in crime and a participant in a conspiracy to destroy Mr Dorworth’s reputation ... the Complaint improperly seeks to preempt any claims A.B. may have against Mr Dorworth for raping and trafficking her by making a threadbare request for expansive declaratory judgment,” her lawyers write.

In 2021, Mr Greenberg pled guilty to several federal crimes, such as sex trafficking the woman when she was underage, court documents state. Part of the plea deal was that Mr Greenberg would help Department of Justice prosecutors in their investigations into others, including Mr Gaetz, according to ABC.

Mr Greenberg has moved to dismiss the defamation and racketeering suit, writing that it “approaches the incredible, if not ludicrous”.

“To accept the Plaintiff’s RICO claim, one must accept a series of irrational premises that provide its foundation. That is, that Joel Greenberg colluded with his victim AB to falsely implicate the Plaintiff to reduce the former’s criminal liability or alternatively so that AB could bring a civil lawsuit against Gaetz and the Plaintiff,” Mr Scheller added.

Mr Gaetz was informed last year that the Department of Justice would not bring charges against him. He has on several occasions rejected all allegations of wrongdoing, including the claim that he had sex with an underage girl.

The Florida congressman is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee in relation to the allegations from the Justice Department inquiry, such as the sex trafficking claim and possible violations connected to lobbying.