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Fmr. Gaetz staffer says FBI agents questioned him with ‘baseless claim’

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A former staffer for GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) has slammed the allegations against the congressman, and said that two FBI agents questioned him last week, after news of the Department of Justice’s investigation into Gaetz’s alleged sex-trafficking broke.

Gaetz has denied the allegations.

RELATED: Lawmakers urge Gaetz to resign as new details of DOJ probe emerge

Nathan Nelson, a former director of military affairs for Gaetz, told reporters during a Monday press conference that when agents visited his home to question him, they made it appear that they thought Nelson resigned due to him having knowledge of the congressman’s involvement in illegal conduct.

“I’m here to state this morning that nothing could be further from the truth,” Nelson said at the press conference held in northwest Florida. “Neither I, nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities.”

RELATED: Report: Matt Gaetz investigation now involves a missing FBI agent last seen 14 years ago

“This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and merely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative,” Nelson said at the conference put together by Gaetz’s office.

While stating that he continues to be “loosely affiliated” with the congressman’s office as an unpaid adviser, Nelson said that he informed Gaetz’s office that he had talked with FBI agents, but that he has not spoken to the congressman personally in months.

The same day as the Nelson press conference, Gaetz published an op-ed in The Washington Examiner defending himself again, writing, “I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Elections

BREAKING: Trump ordered to pay over $350M, barred from operating his business in NY in civil fraud case ruling

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Former President Donald Trump and his business empire faced a significant setback as a New York judge ruled against them in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The 92-page ruling, handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron, barred Trump from operating his business in New York for three years and imposed over $350 million in damages.

The case, which unfolded over months of trial proceedings, stemmed from allegations that Trump inflated his assets and engaged in fraudulent practices. Engoron’s ruling cited a litany of charges, including persistent fraud, falsifying records, issuing false financial statements, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Moreover, the judge imposed restrictions on key figures within the Trump Organization, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, barring them from serving in certain corporate roles in New York for a specified period.

Engoron’s scathing assessment of Trump’s testimony during the trial further undermined the former president’s credibility. The judge criticized Trump for evasive responses and irrelevant digressions, highlighting the detrimental effect on his credibility.

In response to the ruling, Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, lambasted the court’s decision, alleging political bias and a disregard for established legal principles. Kise argued that the evidence presented during the trial failed to support the allegations of fraud and emphasized Trump’s substantial net worth.

Kise’s assertions were echoed by Alina Habba, another attorney representing Trump, who denounced the verdict as a “manifest injustice” resulting from a politically motivated witch hunt.

Throughout the proceedings, Trump consistently dismissed the trial as politically motivated, accusing both Engoron and James of partisan bias. His legal team also criticized the absence of a jury in the trial, questioning the fairness of the proceedings.

Attorney General Letitia James, who spearheaded the lawsuit against Trump and his organization, portrayed the ruling as a victory for accountability and transparency in business practices. The lawsuit alleged fraudulent conduct and sought substantial financial penalties, a portion of which would contribute to the state treasury.

The fallout from the case extends beyond Trump and his business interests, with implications for the broader business community and the rule of law. The contentious nature of the trial and its outcome underscored deep divisions and raised questions about the integrity of the legal system.

Trump vows to appeal the decision.

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