This development is the latest signal that the long-standing Gaetz investigation remains active. A source familiar with the matter had previously told CNN that the ex-girlfriend would appear before the grand jury.
CNN spotted the woman arriving at a federal courthouse in Orlando, Florida with her attorney on Wednesday. She has since completed her testimony in the Gaetz case and left the courthouse.
His lawyer, Timothy Jansen, briefly addressed reporters gathered outside the courthouse. “All I can say is CNN saw me walk in with my client, and I confirm I’m there, but I can’t comment,” he said.
The woman, a former Capitol Hill employee, has been linked to Gaetz since the summer of 2017. Investigators are interested in this period because that is when the congressman is accused of having had contact sex with another 17-year-old woman. years at the time.
The ex-girlfriend could also be an integral part of authorities investigating a possible obstruction of justice as the investigation into Gaetz’s conduct intensified. CNN reported that investigators were aware of a discussion Gaetz and an associate had about speaking to him in October 2020.
Legal experts say the ex-girlfriend’s testimony is a critical step prosecutors would take before indicting Gaetz and indicates that federal prosecutors may be close to indicting the congressman. Any criminal charges against a sitting member of Congress should be approved at the highest level of the Department of Justice.
Several people familiar with the matter told CNN that a grand jury – a group of lay people who hear evidence presented by prosecutors behind closed doors about a potential crime – had met at the annex courthouse Federal George C. Young re Gaetz investigation. .
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a felony.
Gaetz’s lawyers said in a statement Wednesday that they saw “no credible basis” for a charge against Gaetz and said they “remain steadfast in our commitment to challenge any allegation with the facts and the law.” .
This story has been updated with additional developments.