The Gaetz Scandal Is Long On Speculation And Short On Facts

Continues to rage in Washington as Gaetz alleges that a conspiracy to over $25 million and also the New York Times has reported that an investigation into his travel across state lines with a little sex. Both are serious allegations and somebody else is obviously lying. The issue is why, after a year of documented investigation, the underlying facts seem unresolved.  Either this woman was 17 or she wasn’t. Either Gaetz traveled with her or he didn’t. Then there is a taped call that could demonstrate the veracity of key witnesses.  In other words, there is raging speculation over facts which should be readily and established. Why?
The Justice Department has long been criticized for leaks, including leaks tied into the Russian investigation.  As a defense lawyer, I have been required to deal with these kinds of leaks that clearly are calculated to stress defendants.
Naturally, the Justice Department also has been criticized for talking about cases which do not result in charges as shown from the James Comey press conference before the 2016 election.  The Justice Department is not in the business of clearing issues or treating people controversies.
That is exactly the reason why Congress may have to step forward to find confirmation of fundamental details on the allegations from Gaetz.  It has considerable authority and reason to do so. In case Gaetz is guilty, he’d likely face criminal charges and probable expulsion from Congress. However, it has allegedly been under investigation for a year and the age and relationship with this woman should have been easy to affirm.
For example, they may not have traveled together however she can assert that they arranged to meet on such trips. Yet more, however, such traveling (and her status as a minor) must be established. Gaetz insists he knows of no person. Period.

Then there is the call that’s being mentioned by Gaetz within an effort to extort. In case the phone was listed by one of the parties, it is not apparent why it can’t be published.  Gaetz needs it published and his father (who is allegedly on the telephone ) would agree. McGee insists being a part of such a conspiracy and says he has no objection to the release.
In case the phone was orchestrated from the Justice Department, it’s not likely to publish the transcript or the recording only to cover the controversy. Indeed, absent an indictment, it may not be published. The only other avenue is for Congress to look for out the transcript or recording mentioning oversight and legislative authority.  With the parties raising no objection to discharge, the only question would be law enforcement privileges and any privacy concerns in the event the woman’s identity is disclosed directly or indirectly.  Yet, it’s likely to tackle these problems through redactions or even summaries.
What’s curious is that Gaetz is still, after a year, allegedly a subject not a target in the investigation. In the event the prosecutors supported the woman was underaged and went together with Gaetz or had a sexual relationship with himhe would obviously be a target.  Clearly there is a propensity to maintain the lower status so long as possible however I’d have expected a grand jury entry after a year on this kind of relatively straight-forward instance or at least a change in position for Gaetz.

There is a categorical refusal by Gaetz there was ever such a woman or these trips or such a connection.  This ought to be easy to confirm. While Democratic members have called for his immediate resignation, it would be useful to have details and an investigation. I hold no brief for Gaetz that I’ve previously criticized. You can’t state that you are protecting the rule of law when you shed some notion of due process.  These are details that should not be hard for Congress to affirm even without disclosures from the Justice Department. When there is such a woman, she is currently an adult but her individuality can still be shielded from public disclosure in any congressional investigation.  The primary issue is a matter of a date.  That doesn’t need speculation. Just a calendar.

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