The campaign for Matt Gaetz has reportedly hired the defence attorney of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, drug lord ‘El Chapo’, and Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere in connection to a Department of Justice investigation.
Quoting a "person familiar with the matter", The Daily Beast reports that Marc Fernich is representing the campaign in connection with the investigation into the Republican Congressman, which reportedly includes sex trafficking, prostitution, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance issues.
The Friends of Matt Gaetz paid $25,000 to the Law Office of Marc Fernich in June, according to FEC filings.
Mr Gaetz has repeatedly and strenuously denied any allegations of wrongdoing since The New York Times first reported on 31 March that the US Department of Justice was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.
No charges have been brought against Mr Gaetz, who says the allegations are part of a $25m plot to extort his family.
In August, Florida developer Stephen Alford was indicted on charges over an alleged $25m plot to extort Mr Gaetz’s father in exchange for a presidential pardon that would make the DOJ investigation into the Congressman go away.
While the hiring of Mr Fernich for “legal consulting” was first revealed by The Washington Post in July, The Daily Beast is the first to report that the $25,000 in legal fees are in "connection" to the DOJ’s investigation.
Mr Fernich specialises in "subtle, novel and creative arguments that other attorneys may miss", according to his website.
"These arguments can make potential winners out of seemingly hopeless cases, spelling the difference between victory and defeat," it says.
Among those seemingly hopeless cases, Mr Fernich lists former mafia boss John A "Junior" Gotti as his most notable, followed by “El Chapo” Joaquin Guzman Loero, and Epstein.
"Friends of Matt Gaetz" is listed just after Epstein and before Raniere, who was sentenced to 160 years in prison for sex trafficking and other crimes.
Gotti, son of the so-called “Teflon Don” gangster John J Gotti, was was investigated in several racketeering cases before prosecutors said they would no longer pursue them. El Chapo was sentenced to life, plus 30 years, and Epstein died in prison while awaiting trial.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Mr Gaetz is looking into whether the Congressman paid women, including a 17-year-old, in exchange for sex, according to The New York Times.
An attorney familiar with the investigation told The Daily Beast that Mr Gaetz’s defence team illustrates the seriousness and scope of the investigation, which reportedly includes the DOJ’s Public Integrity Unit.
Neither the offices of Mr Fernich nor Mr Gatez responded to The Independent’s request for comment by the time of publication.
A spokesman for Mr Gaetz told the Post in July that their FEC filings "speak for themselves".
“Despite an endless stream of lies from the media, Congressman Gaetz continues to be among the most prodigious fundraisers in Congress and is the only Republican who doesn’t accept donations from federal lobbyists or PACs. He thanks his tens of thousands of donors and promises to always fight for them,” the spokesman said.
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