After an ordeal that lasted more than eight months, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was somewhat vindicated when Stephen Alford pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud, the Conservative Brief reports.
In March, Alford attempted to extort $25 million from the Gaetz family. He promised Matt’s father, Don Gaetz, that Matt, who had been implicated in a federal sex trafficking probe, would receive a presidential pardon in exchange for the money.
On Monday, Alfred, 62, pled guilty to devising the extortion scheme at a federal court hearing in Pensacola.
According to court documents, Alford initially entered a plea of not guilty, making Monday’s admission to the scheme a significant change in the direction of the case.
The Washington Examiner notes that Alford “allegedly oversaw the scheme’s development between March 16 and April 7.” Alford will be sentenced on Feb. 16, and could receive “20 years of prison followed by supervised release.”
Politico adds that Alford could also face fines of up to $250,000.
In March, the New York Times reported the Justice Department was investigating Gaetz for an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. The complaint alleged he paid the minor to travel with him. Gaetz strongly denied the report, calling it “totally false.”
Gaetz publicly confirmed he was under federal investigation but denied any wrongdoing.
Later, the Washington Examiner posted evidence supporting Gaetz’s innocence, including text message screenshots, an email, and a typed document.
That evidence showed how Bob Kent, a former Air Force intelligence officer, was involved in the extortion scheme, proposing to Don Gaetz “a plan that can make [Matt Gaetz’s] future legal and political problems go away.”
Kent has confirmed the authenticity of the documentation.
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