Rep. Matt Gaetz subpoenaed in defamation suit by woman he allegedly had sex with as minor: Sources


Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on Thursday was served a subpoena to sit for a deposition in a civil lawsuit that involves allegations he had sex with a 17-year old-girl, sources tell ABC News, as part of a suit brought by a friend of the congressman against the young woman and others.

Gaetz was issued the subpoena, which has not been previously reported, by attorneys representing the woman who is now in her 20s and was at the center of a years-long investigation by the Justice Department into allegations that the Florida congressman had sex with her when she was a minor, sources said.

MORE: House Ethics Committee issues subpoena for testimony of Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend in ongoing investigation

The congressman’s deposition is slated for April 5, according to sources, and is part of a sprawling defamation and racketeering lawsuit brought by Gaetz’s longtime friend, former Florida House member and lobbyist Chris Dorworth, against the woman and others.

The deposition could see Gaetz asked under oath about his alleged sexual activity with the woman when she was a minor.

“Can confirm that Matt Gaetz has been served for his deposition,” John Clune, one of the attorneys for the woman, told ABC News.

A representative for Gaetz did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

When news of the allegations against Gaetz first broke in March 2021, Gaetz denied them in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, where he also claimed the 17-year-old girl “doesn’t exist.”

PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz asks questions during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2023. (Ken Cedeno/UPI via Shutterstock)PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz asks questions during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2023. (Ken Cedeno/UPI via Shutterstock)

PHOTO: Rep. Matt Gaetz asks questions during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2023. (Ken Cedeno/UPI via Shutterstock)

According to court documents, Dorworth filed a lawsuit last year against Gaetz’s one-time associate Joel Greenberg, who in 2022 was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to several charges including sex trafficking a minor, members of his wealthy family, and the woman Gaetz allegedly had sex with when she was a minor.

Dorworth alleged in the lawsuit a complicated effort to falsely accuse him of “child sex trafficking, sex with a minor, prostitution, obstruction of justice, and an illegal ghost candidate scheme,” according to the suit.

And while Gaetz is not a party in the civil suit, the lawsuit mentions the Florida congressman by name and the allegations against him numerous times, including alleging that the one-time minor at the center of the case worked to “falsely implicated Dorworth, Gaetz, and others in sexual impropriety.”

The young woman, identified in the lawsuit as “A.B.”, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, with her lawyers writing, “Mr. Dorworth seeks to recast A.B. as Mr. Greenberg’s partner in crime and a participant in a conspiracy to destroy Mr. Dorworth’s reputation … the Complaint improperly seeks to preempt any claims A.B. may have against Mr. Dorworth for raping and trafficking her by making a threadbare request for expansive declaratory judgment.”

Greenberg in 2021 pleaded guilty to multiple federal crimes, including sex trafficking of the woman when she was a minor and introducing her to other “adult men” who also had sex with her when she was underage, according to court documents. As part of that plea deal, Greenberg agreed to provide “substantial assistance” to DOJ prosecutors as part of their investigation into Gaetz and others, according to sources familiar with the arrangement.

In a motion to dismiss the defamation and racketeering suit, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller wrote that the lawsuit “approaches the incredible, if not ludicrous.”

“To accept the Plaintiff’s RICO claim, one must accept a series of irrational premises that provide its foundation. That is, that Joel Greenberg colluded with his victim AB to falsely implicate the Plaintiff to reduce the former’s criminal liability or alternatively so that AB could bring a civil lawsuit against Gaetz and the Plaintiff,” Scheller wrote.

The Justice Department informed Gaetz in 2023 that they were declining to bring charges against him, and he has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing, including the allegations that he had sex with a minor.

Gaetz is also facing a congressional ethics probe into a string of allegations stemming from the Justice Department investigation including sex trafficking a minor and potential lobbying violations.

ABC News first reported in February that the House Ethics Committee had issued a subpoena for the testimony of a separate woman involved in the case, Gaetz’s former girlfriend, as part of the panel’s ongoing probe.

In Gaetz’s 2021 interview with Fox News, Carlson asked the congressman, “They’re saying there is a 17-year-old girl who you had a relationship with — is that true? Who is this girl?”

“The person doesn’t exist,” Gaetz replied. “I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old, that is totally false.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz subpoenaed in defamation suit by woman he allegedly had sex with as minor: Sources originally appeared on abcnews.go.com



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