Matt Gaetz reportedly sought Trump pardon in sex trafficking probe

Washington DC - Fearing a federal sex trafficking investigation, Republican Congress member Matt Gaetz apparently told a White House aide he'd asked former Trump administration chief of staff Mark Meadows for a pre-emptive pardon, according to The Washington Post.

Donald Trump (l.) and Matt Gaetz have said the conservative lawmaker never directly asked the former president for a pardon.
Donald Trump (l.) and Matt Gaetz have said the conservative lawmaker never directly asked the former president for a pardon.  © Collage: JEFF SWENSEN & DREW ANGERER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Gaetz, a Florida representative, stated he had done nothing wrong, but allegedly said "If the president could give him a pardon, that would be great."

That claim was reportedly made during former aide Johnny McEntee's testimony before the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

McEntee was cut loose by the Trump administration in 2018, then brought back in 2020 as Donald Trump's director of the office of presidential personnel.

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The Daily Beast reported in late August that multiple sources confirmed Gaetz was the subject of a methodical investigation revolving around underage sex trafficking charges. Allegations against the congressman, who has denied wrongdoing, came from a former "wingman," who reportedly alerted Gaetz a female they'd solicited for sex was not of age.

McEntee reportedly told lawmakers he believed that's what Gaetz was referencing when he sought a pardon from Meadows.

"I think that was the context, yes," McEntee said.

Matt Gaetz is said to have lobbied for a "blanket pardon"

The Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz's alleged sexual proclivities began late in Trump's term as president.
The Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz's alleged sexual proclivities began late in Trump's term as president.  © Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Whether Gaetz told McEntee of his request for a pardon before or after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory isn't clear.

The Justice Department began an investigation into Gaetz's alleged sexual proclivities late in Trump's term as president.

Trump and Gaetz have said the conservative lawmaker never directly asked the former president — to whom the congressman is slavishly loyal — for a pardon.

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In June, Meadow's former aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the January 6 committee that she recalled Gaetz lobbying for a "blanket pardon" for Trump acolytes who challenged transferring power to the 46th president's administration. She could not speak specifically to Gaetz's alleged request for amnesty.

Former Trump administration White House lawyer Eric Herschmann gave testimony stating he believed Gaetz was angling for a broad pardon "for any and all things."

Gaetz, like Trump, has repeatedly claimed to be a victim of political persecution.

Cover photo: Collage: JEFF SWENSEN & DREW ANGERER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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