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

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Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is facing calls to resign as more details emerge amid the federal probe into his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.

The Justice Department is now focusing their investigation on Gaetz’s involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to a new report by The New York Times.

Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through a website that exchanges dates for gifts and travel, according to The Times. Greenberg then introduced the women to Gaetz, the report said.

Text messages and mobile payment receipts reportedly indicate Gaetz and Greenberg instructed the women to meet at specific locations and told them the amount of money they were willing to pay.

In some cases, Gaetz asked the women to help find others who would be interested in having sex with him and his friends, people familiar with the matter told The Times.

A new report by CNN also alleges that Gaetz showed lawmakers, including while on the House floor, photos and videos of nude women and talked about his sexual relationships with them.

Sources told CNN that Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them to his colleagues.

“It was a point of pride,” one of the sources said of Gaetz.

CNN noted that there has been no indication these alleged pictures are connected to the DOJ investigation.

Meghan McCain, conservative commentator and daughter of former Republican senator the late John McCain, urged Gaetz to resign following the CNN report.

“This is vile, abhorrent and beneath the office he holds. No woman in congress should feel comfortable working with him. Resign. (also don’t start with the cancel culture bull****, any man in any place would be fired for this garbage),” McCain tweeted.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said that Republicans would support removing Gaetz from his committee assignments if allegations that he traveled and had a sexual relationship with an underage girl are proven true.

“Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that’s the case,” McCarthy told Fox News on Tuesday. “But right now Matt Gaetz says that it’s not true and we don’t have any information. So let’s get all the information.”

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) expressed similiar thoughts.

“If it’s true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can’t have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him,” Lieu tweeted.

Gaetz has denied any allegation of wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a $25 million extortion plot executed by David McGee, a former federal prosecutor.

“Over the past several weeks, my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” Gaetz said in a statement. “We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Elections

After 3 days, 12 jurors for Trump alleged hush money trial have been chosen

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What was anticipated to take up to two weeks has concluded in only three days. 12 jurors have been chosen for the trial against former President Donald Trump, who has been charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The charges surround alleged hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts, stating the trial is “political persecution.” The former president is expected to testify during his trial, and Fox News has published a list with what is known of the individuals:

Juror #1 and the foreperson: lives in New York City but is originally from Ireland. He has no children and enjoys doing anything outdoorsy. He gets his news from the New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC.

When asked by Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche if he was aware Trump is charged in other cases and jurisdictions, and how that affects him, the man said, “I don’t have an opinion.”

Juror #2 Is a man who said he follows Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on “X,” formerly known as Twitter, as well as other “right wing” accounts, including former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The reason, he said, he follows those figures was so he could be plugged in to “anything that might move the markets I might need to know about.”

When asked if he would unfollow Cohen, as he may be a witness in the trial, the man said: “absolutely.”

The man also said he has “not seen any evidence” relating to the case.

“I will try to keep an open mind,” he said.

Responding to questions from Trump lawyer Susan Necheles about his feelings about the former president, the man said that Trump has done some good for the country.

“It’s ambivalent,” he said. “It goes both ways.”

The first person who was labeled juror #2 was excused Thursday morning after saying she could not be a fair juror.

Juror #3 is a young to middle-aged Asian man who lives in Manhattan. The man said he grew up in Oregon and has been an attorney for five years practicing corporate law. The man said he enjoys hiking and running, and gets his news from The New York Times and Google.

Juror #4 is originally from California, but has lived in New York City for 15 years. The man said he has been a security engineer for 25 years and holds a high school diploma, with some college education.

The man is married with three children. His wife is a teacher.

During his spare time, he enjoys being with his children, woodworking, and metal working.

The man said he has served on a jury before — on both a grand jury and a jury in a criminal trial.

The man said he gets his news from “a smattering” of news sources. As for social media, he said he doesn’t use it.

The man said he has a relative who works in finance and brothers-in-law that work as lawyers.

The man said he has no feelings about how Trump is being treated in this case.

The person who was first labeled as Juror #4 was excused Thursday morning after it was revealed that he had been previously arrested in Westchester, N.Y., for tearing down right-wing political advertisements.

Juror #5 is young and a New York native who has been a teacher of English Language Arts for eight years.

The woman was previously a caseworker at a juvenile detention center. She said she has a masters’ degree in education.

“I’m creative at heart,” she said, adding that she enjoys photography.

The woman said that she is not married and does not have children. Her mother was an administrative aide for a police department, and her godfather was a homicide detective.

The woman said she gets her news from Google and TikTok.

She was asked if Trump chose not to testify, whether she would hold that against him.

“I won’t hold that against him,” she said.

She explained that she has friends who have strong opinions on the former president but said she is not a political person and tries to avoid political conversations.

She did say, however, that she appreciates Trump’s candor.

“President Trump speaks his mind, and I’d rather that than someone who’s in office who you don’t know what they’re thinking,” she said.

When jurors were asked if they were aware Trump was charged in other cases than Bragg’s, most jurors were. However, juror #5 raised her hand to indicate that she was learning of additional charges for the first time.

Juror #6 is a young woman who lives in Manhattan. She described herself as a New Yorker. The woman is a software engineer and said she likes to dance.

Juror #7 is originally from North Carolina and works as an attorney and civil litigator.

The man said he is married with two children, and his wife works in risk management for a bank. He said he enjoys spending time outdoors and with his family.

The man said he gets his news from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post and the Washington Post.

When asked if his career as a lawyer would impact his ability to serve fair and impartially, or whether his opinions would get in his way, the man said that he does have “political views as to the Trump presidency” and said there were likely Trump administration policies he disagreed with.

“I don’t know the man and I don’t have any opinions about him personally,” he said.

As for his career as a lawyer, he said he does not have any opinions about Trump’s character.

“I certainly follow the news,” he said. “I’m aware there are other lawsuits out there. But I’m not sure that I know anyone’s character.”

Juror #8 has been selected. Information on this juror is not yet available.

Juror #9 is a woman who lives in Manhattan. She is originally from New Jersey and works as a speech therapist.

The woman is not married and does not have children. She said she likes to spend time with friends, go to restaurants, and go on walks.

The woman said she has never served on a jury before, and does not watch the news or follow current events too closely. The woman said she did, though, have email subscriptions to CNN and The New York Times. She said she follows social media accounts, listens to podcasts, and enjoys reality television.

The woman said she does not listen to talk radio.

The woman said she can be fair and impartial. She said she does have opinions about Trump, but said she believes she can put them aside and be fair and impartial.

Juror #10 is a man who lives in Manhattan. He was born and raised in Ohio and works in commerce for a large company. The man has a college degree.

The man said he is not married and has no children, but lives with another adult who works in accounting.

The man said he enjoys being outdoors and loves animals.

The man said he does not really follow the news, but listens to podcasts on behavioral psychology.

The man said he has no strong opinions on how Trump is treated in this case.

Juror #11 has been selected. Information on this juror was not immediately available.

Juror #12 has been selected. Information on this juror was not immediately available.

 

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