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Trouble for Matt Gaetz: Witness Says She Was Paid for Sex Parties With Him

The House Ethics Committee is investigating the Republican congressman—and it just got its hands on new text messages and photos.

close-up of Matt Gaetz smiling with blue background (looks a bit like a creepy yearbook photo)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A potential witness in the House Ethics Committee investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz claims that she had sex with the Florida Republican at a drug-fueled party in 2021 that she was paid to attend—and she says she has the texts to prove it.

The unidentified victim received payments to attend multiple sex parties with people in Gaetz’s circle and testified under subpoena to U.S. attorneys investigating Gaetz in 2021, handing over texts, photographs, and other evidence, according to the woman’s attorney who spoke with The Daily Beast.

The House Ethics Committee is now weighing that evidence to determine whether or not the MAGA politician paid for sex with women and an underage teenager.

The woman—who was older than 21 at the time she allegedly encountered Gaetz—told prosecutors that the sex was consensual, the outlet reported.

“She told them that she and lots of girls were provided all kinds of controlled substances at these parties,” the lawyer said.

“The availability of vast amounts of alcohol and controlled substances gave rise to the lack of control of the hormonal imperative,” this lawyer continued, “which inspired people to engage in intimate behavior that may or may not have been because they were financially remunerated.”

According to the attorney, the woman’s decision to speak out and come forward was an arduous and taxing one. In the spring of 2021, a Gaetz associate allegedly berated her over whether she had spoken to anyone investigating the Floridian—a tactic that she interpreted as a pressure campaign to keep her quiet.

“This associate was there asking her over and over and over what she had said, demanding she tell them,” the lawyer told the Beast.

The woman’s name appears across several Venmo transactions reported on by the Beast, tallying up nearly $2,500 between March and July 2017 from Gaetz’s former friend Joel Greenberg, who was later convicted of sex trafficking an underage girl.

Gaetz has insisted he has not committed any wrongdoing in relation to the human sex trafficking probe.

The accusations against Gaetz arise from a DOJ investigation into Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, who was later convicted of sex trafficking. The initial probe also named Gaetz, who Greenberg claimed had paid him via Venmo in order to have sex with an underage girl in 2017.

Eight months after Greenberg warned Gaetz to “steer clear” of the girl, the lawmaker Venmo’d Greenberg $900 in back-to-back payments, per The Daily Beast, telling the taxman to “hit up” the girl on his behalf. At that point, she was five months past her eighteenth birthday, while Gaetz had just turned 36.

Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations, though that hasn’t assuaged the nation’s voters, some of whom have shown up to Trump rallies to troll the MAGA Floridian over the accusations.

Republicans’ Star Hunter Biden Witness Charged for Lying to the FBI

Alexander Smirnov, an FBI informant, was charged for making up his bribery allegations against Hunter and Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden surrounded by reporters holding out mics and phones for recording purposes
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Republicans may have just lost one of their biggest witnesses in their quest to impeach Joe Biden.

The Justice Department on Thursday announced that it is bringing charges against FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, who claimed to have insider information about alleged bribes paid to President Biden and his son Hunter by a Ukrainian oligarch.

Special Counsel David Weiss, the U.S. attorney who’s also overseeing two federal cases against Hunter Biden, is charging Smirnov with making a false statement and creating a false record related to the bribery allegation. This particular bribery allegation has been at the heart of House Republicans’ efforts to prove corruption in the Biden family.

For almost a year, Republicans have been pointing to a conversation that a supposedly credible (but confidential source) had with the FBI agents that, in their telling, proves that Hunter Biden—and his father—engaged in bribery. Republicans further allege that the FBI chose not to investigate those claims further when they had the chance.

Last July, Senator Chuck Grassley and his Republican colleagues sparred with the FBI in an effort to obtain documents about what this informant told investigators about the Ukrainian bribes. Then, Republicans publicly released the materials over the FBI’s objections.

The claim in the documents went like this: Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which at the time employed Hunter, paid both him and his father $5 million in bribes.

It would appear that a tall tale was told. “As alleged in the indictment, the events that Smirnov first reported to the FBI Agent in June 2020 were fabrications,” the Justice Department wrote in a press release announcing the grand jury indictment.

According to the 37-page indictment, Smirnov “transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1, the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his candidacy.”

“Smirnov was told at least seven times he may have to testify about information he provided to [the] FBI and was admonished by the handler at least 21 times to tell the truth to the bureau,” according to an NBC News analysis of the indictment.

Ron DeSantis Finally Admits War on Books Has Been a Total Disaster

The Florida governor is suddenly backtracking after all those ridiculous book bans in schools.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday came out in support of a proposal to limit book bans in schools—the direct result of his own stupid policies.

In a press conference, DeSantis tried to claim that accusations that he has enabled book bans in the state of Florida are “a fraud” and “a big hoax.”

He blamed “activists” on both the left and right for “hijacking” the process of banning books, accusing them of submitting book challenges solely to create a media narrative.

And finally, he directed the Department of Education “to take appropriate action to deal with some of the bad actors who are intentionally depriving students of rightful education by politicizing this process.”

Even as DeSantis basically admitted he made a huge mistake, he used a press release to link to a strange video he posted on Rumble, with the warning “***EXPLICIT CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN***.” The video showcases so-called “non-age-appropriate books” that have “rightly” been banned by libraries, while defending “classic” books like The Diary of Anne Frank. (At least one Florida school has removed an Anne Frank novel, thanks to DeSantis.)

It’s clear that DeSantis is trying to walk back these sweeping book bans—and creating a distinction between justified and unjustified bans.

Essentially, DeSantis is now trying to point fingers at anyone besides himself and his allies, calling the book bans “theater” and “performative.”

In reality, these ridiculous book bans are a direct cause of DeSantis signing House Bill 1069 into law in May 2023. Other legislation in Florida, including the Parental Rights in Education Bill and the Stop WOKE Act, have led to further restrictions.

Under DeSantis, Florida allowed anyone to challenge books in school libraries that they deem to be inappropriate, often books that feature characters or topics on race, sex, and gender. Sometimes books have been banned thanks to a single challenge.

DeSantis has been celebrated by Moms for Liberty, the “parental rights” group inciting many of these blanket bans. The group has thanked the governor for “blazing a trail” on school book bans. He even appointed a co-founder of Moms for Liberty to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

And now, he seems to be backtracking. “If you’re somebody who doesn’t have a kid in school and you’re going to object to 100 books, no I don’t think that’s appropriate,” said DeSantis at the press conference.

He also floated the idea of having the legislature limit the number of challenges and making future challenges contingent on whether you actually have kids in school, a move that could impact Moms for Liberty’s activism. “We’re not trying to incentivize frivolous objections.”

The Florida House is looking to pass a bill (H.B. 7025) which would impose a $100 fine for unsuccessful book objections, which the Florida governor says he would support.

It’s possible that DeSantis is covering his tracks after a lawsuit from PEN America last month was affirmed in federal court. U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell issued a ruling against Escambia County School Board, which has banned above 1,500 books, including the dictionary, under H.B. 1069. The judge ruled that book removals violated the First Amendment and rejected the state’s argument. (DeSantis is not named in the lawsuit.)

DeSantis also on Thursday claimed that “no district in Florida has removed any dictionaries or thesauruses.” That’s literally not true.

Judge Cannon—Yes, Judge Cannon!—Just Shot Down a Trump Delay Tactic

The Trump-appointed judge said the trial will move forward as planned, for now.

Donald Trump sits in a courtroom looking bored or maybe falling asleep
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

Judge Aileen Cannon isn’t buying Donald Trump’s newest delay tactic in the classified documents case.

On Thursday, Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, shot down the GOP front-runner’s latest effort to postpone pretrial deadlines, instead opting to keep that date set on February 22.

But the ruling comes with an exception—noting that she’ll still consider measures filed at the eleventh hour if the legal teams can prove they’re necessary.

Although small, it’s another recent indication that Cannon—who has reportedly taken a leisurely approach to the case’s pretrial proceedings—is looking to push forward.

Last week, Cannon pushed back against another Trump team request with a similar friendly addendum, refusing to delay the trial itself while writing in a nine-page order that they could revisit the schedule come March.

Postponing this criminal trial until the November election means that Trump will possibly never have to answer for allegedly stealing droves of classified documents from the federal government. Should he win reelection to the White House, Trump is expected to direct the Department of Justice to shut the trial down.

Trump faces 40 felony charges in the case: 32 charges for violating the Espionage Act by retaining at least 102 documents with classified documents, six charges for obstruction, and two for making false statements regarding his possession of the documents.

Two of his associates are also charged in the case—longtime aide Walt Nauta, who’s charged with six felonies, and Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira, who faces four felonies. Both of them, along with Trump, attempted to destroy security footage after federal officials requested it, according to a superseding indictment released July 2023.

The trial is currently scheduled for May 20, in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Fani Willis Drops the Mic: These People Tried to Steal an Election

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took the stand and disputed every allegation against her—before reminding everyone what this case is really about.

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/Getty Imagess

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was visibly furious on Thursday as she took the stand in a trial deliberating her future prosecuting Donald Trump’s alleged election interference in Georgia.

Willis is accused of hiring special prosecutor Nathan Wade—a man she had a relationship with and whom her office paid $650,000 to help build the case against Trump—for personal financial gain. The two have taken several international vacations together, which critics have claimed were partially bankrolled by public funds.

“I’ve been very anxious to have this conversation with you today,” Willis told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“It’s ridiculous to me that you lied on Monday and yet here we are,” she added.

Willis and Wade have maintained that their relationship started after he was hired onto the case. But a former friend and co-worker of Willis’s, former Fulton County District Attorney’s Office employee Robin Yeartie, told the court on Thursday that she had “no doubt” that Willis and Wade’s romantic relationship began at a municipal judge conference in 2019—three years earlier than the couple claims.

But Willis quickly refuted that narrative after taking the stand, calling the suggestion that she began sleeping with and dating Wade shortly after meeting him “highly offensive,” while describing Wade as a “good friend” and “personal mentor.”

Further in her defense, Willis fiercely rebutted any significant attachment to Yeartie.

“Robin did not go to my college,” Willis contested. “I met her through some people I knew in college. We hung out a bit, not much because she was in Baltimore and I was in D.C. … after college I lost contact with her. I probably didn’t see her again until seven or eight years ago, a chance meeting in Atlanta. But we did not have a consistent relationship.”

“There’s a saying, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ I think that she betrayed our friendship,” she added.

And in regards to the money—Willis claims she paid for all her share of the vacations out of a stockpile of cash she keeps in her home, which she noted can add up to $15,000 at times.

“You’re confused. You think I’m on trial; these people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial,” Willis told Merchant.

It was a hearing filled with frustrations for the district attorney, who grew more visibly irate as the proceeding continued. At one point, Willis held up several packets of documents, claiming that Merchant “lied” in each of them—an explosion that resulted in the court taking a five-minute break.

Willis’s removal from the case would be an incredible blow to one of four criminal trials that Trump is anticipated to undergo before the 2024 general election, adding an additional delay that may prolong the amount of time before the former president is tried on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Trump Tries Deranged Defense in Stormy Daniels Hush-Money Trial

Donald Trump will try anything to get out of this one.

Donald Trump walking in the courthouse, others surround him
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump is trying any legal defense he can get his hands on, and making up entirely new ones.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday outside his hush-money trial, Trump tried a new defense: Even if he’s found guilty, he didn’t commit a crime or at least shouldn’t be punished for it.

“I shouldn’t be in a courthouse,” said the former president, clearly spinning out over having to attend his first criminal court case of many.

“Even if he was guilty of something, there is no crime,” Trump told reporters outside the courthouse, speaking in the third person.

It’s unclear what Trump means here, but it’s clear he’s making it up on the fly. Trump is accused of 34 felony charges over falsifying business records for his payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, in exchange for their silence ahead of the 2016 election. Something that is absolutely a crime.

“We want delays,” Trump added in the press conference. Unfortunately, he won’t get them.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan decided at the hearing on Thursday that the trial will begin March 25 as planned.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Republican primary is less than 10 days away, and Trump is stressed about how to make it to all his court appearances and campaign stops.

“How can you run for election and be sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long?”

We’re asking the same question.

Matt Gaetz Goes Full Racist After GOP’s Brutal Defeat in New York

Republicans want to blame anything but themselves after losing George Santos’s former House seat.

Matt Gaetz walking (he kinda looks like a zombie)
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

After Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip lost the New York special election to replace George Santos’s empty House seat, Representative Matt Gaetz made sure to take time to tear down his fellow party member.

“It turns out DEI isn’t a real good strategy for Republican candidate recruitment,” Gaetz said in an interview with Newsmax.

Gaetz went on to trash Pilip, who was born in Ethiopia and holds both American and Israeli citizenship, calling her a “very foolish woman.” Donald Trump used the exact same words in a Truth Social post Tuesday night, and added that Pilip lost because she did not endorse him.

Similarly, Gaetz’s main line of attack, besides dog whistles, was criticizing Pilip for not fully embracing Trump. “Look, if you don’t want to run as a Donald Trump Republican, what are you even doing running in 2024 on our side? Get on board.”

“George Santos stood with President Trump, backed the America First agenda, and he ultimately prevailed, so now the very New Yorkers who threw George Santos out see their own ranks diminished and they welcome back Democrat Tom Suozzi,” Gaetz continued.

There are plenty of reasons Republicans lost this seat: Santos’s antics, the GOP’s do-nothing disaster of a term, or even the fact that the district often leans Democratic— but DEI isn’t the boogeyman Gaetz makes it out to be. 

With Santos replaced by a Democrat, the House GOP majority will further shrink. The razor-thin majority means even more tension for Speaker Mike Johnson, who was already struggling to get his party to pass any legislation.

DA Fani Willis’s Former Friend Blows Up Claim About Relationship Timeline

A college friend of the Georgia district attorney testified that Willis’s romantic relationship started way earlier than she says it did.

Fani Willis rests her head on her head and looks defeated
Dennis Byron-Pool/Getty Images

Things suddenly don’t look so good for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose statements on the duration of her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade was directly contradicted by a friend taking the stand on Thursday.

Robin Yeartie, a college friend of Willis’s and former Fulton county district attorney’s office employee, told the court that Willis’s relationship with Wade began in 2019—three years earlier than the couple claims, and before Wade was hired on in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants. Yeartie added that the couple’s relationship remained constant.

“You have no doubt that their romantic relationship was in effect from 2019 until the last time you spoke with her?” asked defense lawyer Ashleigh Merchant.

“No doubt,” Yeartie said.

Yeartie also mentioned that she had stopped speaking to Willis in March 2022 over a “situation” that led to the end of her friendship with Willis and a professional fork in the road—resign or be fired.

Meanwhile, Trump and several of his co-defendants have used the romantic entanglement as a legal basis to request that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee disqualify her and throw out the case entirely.

In a court filing, Trump’s legal team alleged that Willis and Wade had an “improper intimate personal relationship,” taking lavish vacations including Caribbean cruises paid for in part by $650,000 that Wade billed Willis’s office to prosecute the case.

Willis has denied those allegations, claiming that their relationship began in 2022, after Wade was introduced to the case, and that they each paid their own share of the vacation.

“The state has admitted a relationship existed, and so what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit, if there even was one,” McAfee said.

Willis’s removal from the case would be an incredible blow to one of four criminal trials that Trump is anticipated to undergo before the 2024 general election, adding an additional delay that may continue to prolong the amount of time before the former president is tried on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

A Slurring Donald Trump Gives Unbelievable Excuse for Constant Mix-Ups

The Republican front-runner made another gaffe as he tried to explain away all his other ones.

Donanld Trump speaks before a mic, eyebrows raised and arm outstretched toward the camera
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s recent memory failures sure do look like some kind of cognitive decline. In the last few months, Trump has mixed up President Joe Biden with former President Barack Obama, slurred his words, bragged about his favorite type of violent death and that he calls corn “non-liquid gold,” insisted you need voter ID to buy bread, and confused his GOP competitor Nikki Haley for California Representative Nancy Pelosi, claiming that the former failed to act during January 6.

But during a campaign rally on Wednesday, Trump had a new excuse for all that, claiming all of his short circuits are actually just sarcastic jokes.

“But when I say that Obama is the president of our country bah bah bah, they go, ‘He doesn’t know that Spiden [sic], he doesn’t know.’ So it’s very hard to be sarcastic,” Trump said.

“When I interpose—cause I’m not a Nikki fan, and I’m not a Pelosi fan. And when I purposely interpose names, they said, ‘He didn’t know Pelosi from Nikki. From Tricky Nikki. Tricky Nikki. He didn’t know.’ I interposed,” he added, seemingly forgetting the definition of the word “interpose,” which per Merriam-Webster means to put oneself between or intrude.

“And they make a big deal out of it. I said, ‘No, no, I think they both stink. They have something in common. They both stink.’ And remember this: When I make a statement like that about Nikki, that means she will never be running for vice president. She will never be running [unintelligible] vice president,” he added.

Since a special counsel investigation accused 81-year-old President Joe Biden of having a feeble mind, Trump—who is just four years younger—has desperately been trying to reframe the narrative, accusing Biden of being “too incompetent” but “not too old.”

Putin Roasts Tucker Carlson Even More After That Pathetic Interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin say he was not impressed by Tucker’s interview skills.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn’t impressed by Tucker Carlson’s pathetic attempts to interview him.

The ousted Fox News host was in Moscow last week, when he sat down with Putin for what he claimed would be a hard-hitting, unbiased interview. In reality, it was anything but.

Speaking to Russian state television on Wednesday, Putin said that prior to the interview, he believed that Carlson would be an aggressive interviewer, a dangerous person who would “ask so-called sharp questions.”

“And I wasn’t just ready for that, I wanted it, because it would have given me the opportunity to respond sharply in kind,” Putin added. “But he chose a different tactic.”

“He tried to interrupt me several times, but still, surprisingly for a Western journalist, he turned out to be patient and listened to my lengthy dialogues, especially those related to history, and didn’t give me reason to do what I was ready for. So frankly, I didn’t get complete satisfaction from this interview.”

Indeed, as Putin claimed, the interview seemed more like a propagandistic history lesson than anything else.

The interview lasted over a grueling two hours, during which Carlson avoided topics like Russian war crimes in Ukraine, political prisoners, or even Russia’s upcoming presidential election. “Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?” Putin asked.

Before the interview even hit the halfway mark, Putin was interviewing Carlson and mocking Carlson’s CIA dreams.

The whole thing was longer than Carlson’s previous self-published interviews with Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The only person Tucker Carlson’s interviewed for longer? Alleged rapist and sex trafficker Andrew Tate.

Carlson claimed the goal of the interview is to enable Americans to understand Russia’s view of the war. “He fulfilled his plan,” said Putin, “but how meaningful it was in the end is not for me to judge.”