Washington

Former Gaetz staffer says he has no knowledge of any illegal activity, calls claims ‘fabricated’


A former staff for embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz on Monday vehemently denied that he was aware of allegations that the Florida Republican engaged in illegal activity.

Nathan Nelson, who served as Mr. Gaetz’s military affairs director, held a press conference to refute rumors that he was aware of the congressman’s alleged activities.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither I nor any member of his staff had knowledge of illegal activities,” he said at a press conference in Florida.

Mr. Nelson left the congressman’s office earlier this year. He said two FBI agents met with him last week and said members of the media contacted them to claim his departure is linked to a federal investigation.

He said such claims were “baseless,” and he had planned to leave his position before the Justice Department investigation into Mr. Gaetz became public knowledge.

Mr. Gaetz is under federal investigation for accusations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and traveled with her, possibly violating sex trafficking laws.

The congressman has denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime.

Mr. Nelson said that because facts surrounding his departure were falsely reported, he believes the claims against Mr. Gaetz are also untrue.

“This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and an attempt to discredit a vocal conservative,” Mr. Nelson said.

But when pressed by reporters on whether he was pushing back on the allegations against Mr. Gaetz, the former staffer said he was only talking to “discredit” the claims involving his departure.

Mr. Nelson said he hasn’t talked with Mr. Gaetz in months and was not holding the press conference at the congressman’s request. 

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