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April 13, 2023
A Florida developer, who was one of the men Congressman Matt Gaetz accused of extorting his family in exchange for having a federal sex investigation into the congressman go away, has been arrested on the charge that he tried to extort $25 million from Gaetz’s father.
Stephen Alford, a 62-year-old from Fort Walton Beach, “was indicted on charges of wire fraud and destruction of property subject to a seizure warrant,” Politico reported. Alford in March and April of 2021 attempted to get Gaetz’s father to pay a large sum as part of a complex deal. Matt Gaetz in March told Fox News what was happening, saying he got a text message “demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex-trafficking allegations against me go away.”
This scheme promoted by Alford would have also paid for a private effort to rescue an FBI agent who had disappeared in Iran in 2007. The FBI agent, Robert Levinson, has been reported dead by U.S. officials who believe that Levinson had died in Iranian custody but Iran has publicly denied this.
Alford said that he could “guarantee” that one of Don Gaetz’s family members would not end up going to jail as long as he paid the money Alford demanded (although it is unclear how Alford could get Biden to pardon Gaetz if Gaetz is indicted). Matt Gaetz spokesperson Harlan Hill has connected the allegations against Matt Gaetz to the extortion attempt by Alford.
Hill stated that “The release of the Alford tapes will further exculpate Rep. Gaetz and implicate those with long-standing links to the federal government.” This shakedown of Gaetz’s father occurred as rumors started to spreading that Gaetz was under investigation in the sex-trafficking of a 17-year-old, an allegation which he has vehemently denied.
These allegations of sex-trafficking were spread by Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who himself has pleaded guilty for sex trafficking of a minor, falsely smearing a political foe, and various other crimes. In hopes of a lighter sentence, Greenberg is cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of Gaetz.
As of now no charges against Gaetz has been filed, although investigators have interviewed many off his past associates. Gaetz has called the investigation a witch hunt and says that the shakedown scheme is proof that the Justice Department investigation into him is politically motivated.
ARTICLE: AANAND MAHATO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO