Legal experts, including former federal prosecutors, appear in agreement that U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is likely to be facing a good deal of trouble from the Dept. of Justice after an NBC News report reveals his ex-girlfriend testified before a grand jury in his ongoing sex trafficking probe Wednesday and is in talks for an immunity deal.
NBC News’ Marc Caputo reports this is “a major development that suggests the Department of Justice may be moving closer to indicting him.”
Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend “has been in talks for months with prosecutors about an immunity deal. Under a possible deal, she would avoid prosecution for obstruction of justice in return for testifying in the investigation into whether Gaetz in 2017 had sex with a 17-year-old female for money and whether months later he and others violated a federal law prohibiting people for paying for prostitutes overseas.”
Based on the NBC News report legal experts are saying it’s likely time is running out for Gaetz.
“Significant,” says former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, now an NBC News National Security Contributor. “Expect some public drama from Gaetz,” he warns.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the well-known NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor adds, “Matt Gaetz seems to be moving closer to being indicted-locking in the girlfriend’s testimony under oath before the grand jury is a critical step.”
Another former U.S. Attorney, Harry Litman, says “given what we know from [Gaetz’s] buddy [Joel] Greenberg about his MO,” the Florida Congressman’s ex-girlfriend “could provide very damning testimony.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti is even more definitive.
“Prosecutors would not ‘lock in’ Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend’s testimony before the grand jury unless they were getting close to wrapping up their investigation and expected that investigation to result in an indictment,” Mariotti explains. Asked his estimation for an “ETA,” he responds:
I don’t know for sure. But prosecutors don’t want to have witnesses lock in their testimony if they’re still gathering other evidence. They want to make sure they can use all the evidence to refresh the witness’s memory in order to minimize inconsistencies or mistakes.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 12, 2022
Attorney Aaron Parnas appears more convinced things are moving quickly: “This shows me that the timeline for indictment has likely sped up.”
Meanwhile, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen took something of a victory lap on reading the news:
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 12, 2022
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