Remember that federal investigation into Matt Gaetz? It was announced at the top of the year, and it involved the Florida seantor’s ties to a sex trafficking ring that may have included underage girls. It’s been a while since we heard any updates about it. The last big thing involved his indicted associate Joel Greenberg agreeing to snitch on him. But it hasn’t gone away. And a new report by The Daily Beast suggests that when it finally gets under way, it may be even more epic than previously imagined.
The Beast talked to legal experts, who pointed out that that the perceived lull since the investigation began is nothing out of the ordinary. There are even a host of possible explanations. For one, investigators may have a long list of matters they’re looking into. The Beast even claims the delays “could just as easily suggest that the charges that could be coming down the pike are extremely grave and complex.”
Gaetz and his allies have used the lull to pretend that the investigation is kaput, but it appears he’s taking it very seriously indeed. Indeed, he’s amassed quite a legal team for a matter that’s not even going to trial yet.
That team features a trio of powerful litigators from New York City, well outside the bounds of the Middle District of Florida, where the Justice Department investigation is being handled.
Gaetz is personally represented by Marc Mukasey, who has defended the Trump Organization in several high-profile disputes, as well as Isabelle Kirshner, a partner at Clayman & Rosenberg LLP. Kirshner is a top Manhattan criminal defense attorney who also represented former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman after multiple women accused him of physical assault.
There’s also a campaign, entitled Friends of Matt Gaetz. Whose services have they retained? No less than Marc Fernich, a New York-based trial lawyer whose client list includes Jeffrey Epstein, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and cult leader and convicted sex trafficker Keith Raniere.
What does this all mean? To former assistant New York attorney general Tristan Snell, it sounds like he’s preparing for a big fight.
“It looks like a scorched-earth approach,” Snell told The Daily Beast. “These are all big out-of-town lawyers. If your goal is to resolve something, you typically hire the top criminal defense attorney in the district, someone who’s a repeat customer there and has a good working relationship with that U.S. Attorney’s office. But these attorneys can go down there, burn down the building, and not have to worry about going back in the next day.”
Another expert, former federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, says, “The fact he’s hiring trial lawyers would suggest that they are preparing for a trial, not a negotiation.”
While Gaetz may be sweating behind closed doors, in public he’s doing what he’s long done: pretending like he isn’t being federally investigated for ties to a sex trafficking ring. Over the weekend, he tried to pretend like all was normal. For Gaetz, that meant promoting a white supremacist conspiracy theory.
(Via The Daily Beast)