A former federal prosecutor is warning Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that he might want to keep quiet about the investigation he’s reportedly facing into allegations of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl.
“The one thing that’s clear, the only certain takeaway I have from this, is that the congressman needs a lawyer,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.”
One day after Gaetz delivered a defense so convoluted on Fox News, Vance’s comments come one day that host Tucker Carlson called it “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”
The New York Times said this week that the Justice Department is looking into allegations that Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and may have broken sex trafficking laws by paying for her to travel across state lines.
Gaetz denies the allegations.
The congressman said he’s the subject of an extortion plot ― but he also let loose during his freewheeling Fox News interview that someone claims to have photos of him with child prostitutes, which he denies, and that he was offered a presidential pardon as part of the extortion plot, which he denies he would need.
Vance said Gaetz might want to keep it buttoned.
“He needs to have someone giving him legal advice because he is perilously close to incriminating himself, conceding some of the elements of potential crimes,” she said. “And just running his mouth in a way that no one who’s the subject of a federal investigation should be doing.”
Also, on MSNBC, former Department of Justice spokesperson Matthew Miller pointed out that the possibility of an extortion plot doesn’t necessarily exonerate Gaetz.
“You can both be the victim of a crime and a criminal yourself,” he said.
And he likewise found Gaetz’s public comments to be very unusual, calling him “a person who is panicking under the spotlight ― and I don’t think that speaks very well about how he might handle this investigation as it moves forward.