Stephen Alford, a Florida developer and fraud convict, was arrested and charged for attempting to extort $25 million from former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, father of embattled Congressman Matt Gaetz, according to Politico.
After Don Gaetz wore a wire for the FBI, it was found out that Alford would have ensured one of Gaetz’ family members received a presidential pardon, and no one would go to prison. The family member was identified as Don Gaetz’s son, Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Matt Gaetz has been at the center of a sex trafficking probe for months, which has seen one of Gaetz’s close allies, Joel Greenberg, get charged on six counts ranging from sex trafficking a minor, stalking, and fraud.
Matt Gaetz’s involvement revolves around an alleged illicit relationship between he and a 17-year-old girl. Greenberg is also alleged to have arranged the girl be trafficked across state lines.
The girl, who was a minor at the time of the relationship, has said she testified before a grand jury saying she had sex with a Republican congressman.
According to records, Greenberg made over 150 Venmo payments to young women, including a 17-year-old. One Venmo payment came from Matt Gaetz to Greenberg containing a note only indicating the “love hotel” emoji.
One of Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriends is also someone prosecutors are seeking to interview and offer her an immunity deal if she provides testimony about Matt Gaetz.
Attorney for Don Gaetz has said the Department of Justice made the decision to arrest Alford after credible information came through.
“Don came forward with credible information that he was the victim of an extortion plot. After careful consideration and verification, the Justice Department has now acted on that information,” said Jeffrey Neiman, attorney for Don Gaetz. “Don remains cooperative with the Justice Department. And he hopes that all of those responsible for this fraudulent act are held accountable.”
Neiman would not comment regarding a potential link between the extortion plot and the sex crimes allegations surrounding Matt Gaetz.
– – –