PENSACOLA, Florida – Who remembers the allegations of underage sexcapades against Matt Gaetz? On Tuesday, a Florida man was arrested and charged with attempting to extort the Gaetz family.
Stephen M. Alford, 62, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was indicted by a federal grand jury on counts of wire fraud and the attempted prevention of seizure of an electronic device, announced Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
In March, we reported that a New York Times article revealed that the Justice Department was investigating Gaetz over accusations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.
Gaetz, an American First politician and supporter of President Trump, fired back with accusations of his own.
Gaetz claimed that David McGee, a former DOJ official, was involved in an “extortion scheme” against him and his family. In an announcement on Twitter along with the Tucker interview, Gaetz puts all his cards on the table and names, “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.” Gaetz tweeted at the time.
Officials state that Alford tried to extort $25 million from the father of Rep. Matt Gaetz in exchange for a presidential pardon that would shut down a high-profile, criminal sex-trafficking investigation into the Republican congressman.
The indictment alleges that in March and April of this year, Alford attempted to get Gaetz’s wealthy father, Don, who reported the extortion attempt, to pay the large sum as part of a complex deal dubbed “Project Homecoming.”
Alford also claimed that the funds would be used as part of a private effort to rescue a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007, Robert Levinson. U.S. officials said last year they believe Levinson was arrested and later died in Iranian custody, but Iran has publicly denied arresting Levinson. His body has never been found.
According to the indictment, Alford said he could “guarantee” that one of Don Gaetz’s family members would not go to prison if the money Alford demanded was paid.
The indictment refers to Don Gaetz, a former Florida state Senate leader, as “D.G.” and describes the investigation to be extinguished as one “by the FBI for various public corruption and public integrity issues.”
The indictment lists three other anonymous people.
“Family Member A” is Matt Gaetz.
“Person A,” who first reached out to Don Gaetz to discuss the scheme via text message, is a former U.S. Air Force Intelligence officer named Bob Kent.
Kents involvement was made apparent when the Gaetz family identified him in a March interview with POLITICO and who later discussed his role in the matter with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, where Kent denied wrongdoing.
Kent said that McGee introduced him to Alford, who had been the lawyer’s client in the past.
“When Dave vouched for Stephen, that was good enough for me. I‘ve worked with Dave for a long time,“ Kent told CNN in April.
The third person, “Attorney A,” is former federal prosecutor David McGee, according to Gaetz.
No charges against Gaetz have been filed, although investigators have interviewed many of his associates, including past girlfriends.
Alford has previously been convicted of federal fraud charges and faced a state fraud case in 2015. Federal prosecutors said in a press release that he appeared in federal court Tuesday on the new charges and is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
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