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Report: Feds Are Looking Into Alleged Gaetz Bahamas Trip

Sources say marijuana entrepreneur may have paid for accommodation, escorts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 4:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rep. Matt Gaetz may have violated federal law in more ways than one with an alleged trip to the Bahamas with a marijuana entrepreneur. Sources tell CBS that federal investigators looking into the trip suspect that Jason Pirozzolo, a Florida hand surgeon who is chairman of the board of the Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, paid for travel expenses and female escorts on the trip in late 2018 or early 2019. The sources say investigators are also looking into whether Gaetz was provided with paid escorts in return for political favors. Pirozzolo said in a 2018 podcast that Gaetz was working on legislation to facilitate marijuana research at a national level. Gaetz introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act twice.

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Former prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown tells CBS that traveling across state or international lines "creates a hook" for a sex trafficking prosecution—and it doesn't matter if Gaetz "personally paid them as long as he knows someone is doing that." He says the Republican could also be charged with a federal crime if "there's evidence of a quid pro quo that the congressman was provided with benefits in return for him sponsoring some legislation." In a statement, Gaetz's office said he has "never paid for sex," and slammed the case as a "general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults." The Hill reports that former President Trump broke his silence about Gaetz on Wednesday to deny reports that the lawmaker, one of his most outspoken defenders in Congress, had sought a "blanket pardon" from him. (Read more Matt Gaetz stories.)

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