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Witnesses said Matt Gaetz snorted cocaine and had sex with an escort who was paid with campaign money, according to the report.


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  • Matt Gaetz allegedly snorted cocaine with a female escort at a hotel party in 2019, The Daily Beast reported.

  • The Florida congressman reportedly wrote off the hotel stay as a campaign expense.

  • Gaetz is facing a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Witnesses said Rep. Matt Gaetz snorted cocaine and had sex with an escort paid with campaign money, the Daily Beast reported on Friday.

In late October 2019, Gaetz made headlines as a guest speaker at the ‘Trump Defender Gala’ fundraiser hosted by the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando, Florida. At an afterparty in Gaetz’s bedroom after the event, witnesses told the Daily Beast that a woman named Megan Zalonka brought and prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter.

The Florida congressman wrote off the hotel stay as a campaign expense, The Beast reported. Two sources also told The Beast that Gaetz and Zalonka, who worked as a paid escort and amateur model on Instagram, according to the report, had a paid relationship in exchange for sex.

“She was just one of many pieces of arm candy he had,” a source close to their relationship told The Beast.

Zalonka was also associated with Joel Greenberg, a former Florida County tax collector and former Gaetz winger. According to The Beast’s report, his relationship with Greenberg turned into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that grossed him between $ 7,000 and $ 17,500, three sources told the outlet and corroborated by government records. correspondents obtained by The Beast.

Greenberg is expected to plead guilty on Monday to six counts, including sex trafficking, wire fraud, identity theft, criminal harassment and conspiracy, as Insider first reported. The Beast reported that Greenberg “will identify this escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex, according to a source familiar with the investigation.”

Representatives from Gaetz’s office or the Logan Circle Group, the public relations firm Gaetz hired, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In a statement to The Beast, the Logan Circle group said the congressman “will not say whether or not he is dating specific women. The privacy of women living in private life should be protected.”

A lawyer for Zalonka said that witness claims in The Beast report were not “accurate” and that Zalonka “was not speaking to any media.”

The news that Greenberg would plead guilty marks a major development in his case, which dates back to June 2020, when he was arraigned on federal charges, which prompted him to resign from his elected post as tax collector for the Seminole County in Florida. The charges Greenberg will plead guilty to is a significant downgrade from the 33 crimes he was originally charged with before he struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors.

The development likely increases the pressure on Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crime, but faces a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws.

Legal experts told Insider that prosecutors’ decision to reduce Greenberg’s charges suggests he has information of significant value.

The Gaetz investigation reportedly investigates whether the Florida congressman used campaign money to fund women’s travel. Investigators would take a close look at Gaetz and Greenberg’s interactions with “several women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments,” according to the New York Times.

Prosecutors are also reportedly investigating a trip to the Bahamas that Gaetz took in late 2018 or early 2019 with a hand surgeon and a marijuana contractor as part of the investigation into whether Gaetz broke sex trafficking laws, CBS News reported last month. Gaetz’s two fellow cruise ships have reportedly paid for the travel and accommodation costs of the crew, as well as the sex workers.

Earlier last month, The Daily Beast reported that in 2018, Gaetz sent Greenberg $ 900 on Venmo, who then sent the same total, in varying amounts, to three young women. Then, earlier this week, CNN reported that in addition to Greenberg, federal investigators were also seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who was dating Gaetz but not working in his office.

Gaetz continued to deny the allegations against him, insisting that the Justice Department’s investigation was part of an extortion scheme against him and his family members.

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