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Gaetz Exposure Deepens With New Evidence Of Trump Pardon Effort

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were about to kick off a road show, traveling the nation to attack "the radical left" and insufficiently extremist Republicans. And then the other shoe dropped in the ever-developing scandal around Gaetz's apparent habit of paying for sex, in one case allegedly with a minor.

That scandal has been developing for a month, starting with the revelation that Gaetz is under federal investigation as part of a broader sex trafficking investigation involving former Seminole County, Florida, tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is under indictment already. Gaetz initially tried to deflect by claiming his family was being extorted in a bizarre scheme involving a hostage in Iran who is generally believed to be dead—a claim that Gaetz mostly moved on from when it became clear that no one thought it exonerated him.

Revelation after revelation followed: Gaetz had showed nude pictures of women to fellow members of Congress. As a Florida legislator, he participated in a sex game in which points were awarded for sex with different categories of women, including interns. He took a trip to the Bahamas paid for in part by a "marijuana entrepreneur" … and part of what was paid for may have included women.

So we've already heard a lot. Really, we've probably heard more than enough about Matt Gaetz and sex, because even before you get to the predatory behavior, just … ick. But there is more.

Gaetz typically didn't pay women for sex directly — instead, he paid Greenberg, who then paid the women. That means Greenberg knows a lot, and since Greenberg is facing significant legal trouble, he appears to be motivated to talk. But before he started talking to the federal government, Greenberg talked to Roger Stone in late 2020 in hopes that Stone could convince Donald Trump to give him a last-minute pardon.

Greenberg talked to Stone a lot, and The Daily Beast has the receipts in the form of Signal chats between Greenberg and Stone, and a lengthy confession letter Greenberg wrote for Stone to use in his efforts with Trump. Of note, Gaetz had at one point posted a social media picture of himself, Stone, and Greenberg.

In the letter, of which The Daily Beast has multiple drafts, Greenberg describes learning through "an anonymous tip" that a woman—well, as it turned out, girl—in his and Gaetz's sex trafficking scheme was 17 years old.

"Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage," Greenberg wrote. "He was equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation."

They were so shocked and disturbed that they stayed away from the girl only until after she turned 18. She was one of the women paid by Greenberg immediately after Gaetz sent him $900 through Venmo with the note "hit up [her nickname]."

In his communications with Stone, Greenberg was hanging his argument for a pardon in part on the threat to Gaetz. "And while I have not had any communication with MG, he absolutely has to know that the sex charge they hit me with would be what they would hit him with," he wrote in one of the Signal messages. "All he has to is explain to POTUS the situation and his exposure, and it would be very easy to do."

"MG is like a son to POTUS. MG is like a brother to me."

Well, we know how far "like a son" goes with Donald Trump, and now we know how far "like a brother" goes with Matt Gaetz. And to Greenberg, who seems to have been screen-shotting his Signal chats with Stone before they could disappear, in just one of a series of insurance policies he set up for himself should the pardon effort fail, as it did.

Gaetz is defiant and is attempting to remain a significant figure in the Republican Party, as his planned tour with Greene shows. But even before the investigation into him became public, it was serious enough that then-Attorney General William Barr was reportedly taking steps to avoid being photographed near him. Attacking the media will only go so far if and when he faces federal charges.

Roger Stone Shilled For Gaetz (And Was Paid To Do It)

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Since cashing a check from the reelection campaign of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in March, notorious political dirty trickster Roger Stone has furiously defended the congressman amid a firestorm surrounding a federal investigation into his activities. On his social media accounts and in an interview with Infowars' Alex Jones, Stone attacked the story as a conspiracy between the media and the "deep state" intended to derail a future Gaetz run for president.

The Daily Beast reported that federal campaign finance disclosures reveal Gaetz's campaign paid Stone's Drake Ventures $5,000 for "strategic political consulting" fees on March 24. It was the first time the campaign had ever made a payment to the firm. Six days later, the New York Times reported that Gaetz has been under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking.

Hours after that story broke, Gaetz went on the program of Fox News' Tucker Carlson, an apparent personal friend of Stone's, to defend himself. The Florida congressman denied the report and alleged that he had been the victim of an attempted extortion. The interview went poorly, and Fox seemed to abandon Gaetz, who had built his political brand through appearances on the network, amid disastrous reports about his behavior which eventually triggered a House Ethics Committee probe.

But as Fox left Gaetz for dead, Stone came to his aid.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones interviewed Stone, a frequent guest on his Infowars show, about the Gaetz allegations on March 31, the day after the Times story broke and Gaetz went on Carlson's show.

Stone used the opportunity to offer a stalwart defense of the congressman as the victim of a conspiracy while praising him as the future of the Republican Party -- without acknowledging what we now know, that Gaetz's campaign had paid him thousands of dollars (Salon previously reported on the interview).

"If you had to name the single most effective member of the House in terms of fighting for the America First agenda, it would have to be Matt Gaetz," Stone claimed.

He described the allegations against Gaetz as "a search and destroy mission" and "a cheap political trick" intended to "derail his career." And Stone and Jones agreed that career could go quite far, with both praising him as a formidable presidential candidate in 2024 if former President Donald Trump does not seek another term.

"The left-wing nonjournalist fake news media are the most vicious, malicious, dishonest people that I've ever come across," he later added. "I think this is a good old fashioned smear because, let's face it, Matt Gaetz shows enormous promise and they know that. They don't want to face him at the polls in four years, or eight years, or 12 years, they want to finish his political career right now."

"Not because he's done something wrong," Stone continued, "because I don't believe he has, but because they control the media. They now control the Justice Department. That's a toxic combination."

Jones also pointed to a personal relationship between the Florida consultant and the congressman. Before the interview began, he said Stone is "good friends" with Gaetz, "helped him run for Congress," and was responsible for Gaetz's 2018 interview with Jones. (Gaetz subsequently said he would not return to that program because "the things that Alex Jones has said and done are so hurtful to so many people that a member of Congress should not grace that platform and legitimize it.")

Stone also rallied to Gaetz in a series of posts to his Gab account.

Stone mocked an image connecting him to Gaetz and others involved in the scandal as "a delusional left-wing conspiracy theory from nuts and haters"; wrote that he was praying for the congressman on Easter; posted a video denouncing CNN for reporting that Trump denied Gaetz a meeting that the congressman had requested; and denied a report that he was backing away from Gaetz.

"The only thing @repmattgaetz is guilty of is occasional bad taste in his wardrobe," Stone posted on Gab on April 14. "The drumbeat of 'leaks' against Gaetz from the DOJ are false allegations without evidence or proof."

On Telegram, he shared a link where followers could buy a "Matt Gaetz did nothing wrong" T-shirt.

Stone is a longtime Trump political adviser who at one point was banned from all three major cable news networks over racist and misogynistic commentary and conspiracy theories. Trump and his 2016 campaign tasked Stone to "obtain advance information about WikiLeaks's planned releases'' of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian intelligence in 2016, and they believed he had succeeded in doing so, according to a Republican-led Senate committee's investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe ultimately led to his conviction on seven federal felony counts, but Trump commuted his 40-month sentence and ultimately pardoned him. Stone is also connected to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Like Gaetz, Stone is currently in hot water with the Justice Department. On Friday, federal prosecutors sued him and his wife over an alleged $2 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. Stone claims there's a conspiracy behind that one, too.

Roger Stone Complains About IRS “Deep State” Lawsuit Against Him

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Roger Stone on Friday, April 16, alleging that he owes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nearly $2 million. Now, Stone is firing back with his take on the latest lawsuit.

As reports about the lawsuit began circulating online, Stone took to Telegram with his reaction. Along with links to reports about the case, Stone said, "Same Deep State Bullshit — different day," reports Law & Crime.

He added, "After Robert Mueller's dirty cops destroyed me financially the Department of Injustice, well aware of the fact that I have no income and no assets files a bogus civil suit against me. I guess they're still really pissed off about the pardon. Now I have no choice but to defeat them again."

Stone concluded his post with the hashtag written in third person that says, "#RogerStoneStillDidNothingWrong."

However, the Justice Department and IRS argue otherwise. According to the lawsuit, "For each of the years 2007 through 2011, Roger and Nydia Stone filed joint federal income tax returns but did not pay in full the amount of the income taxes they reported as due," the lawsuit alleges. What follows is a chart listing payments the Stones allegedly failed to make."

It also reads, "Despite notice and demand for payment, Roger and Nydia Stone have failed and refused to pay the entire amount of the liabilities described . . . [t]aking into account all payments, credits, and abatements, as of April 2, 2021, Roger and Nydia Stone jointly and severally owe $1,590,361.89 in unpaid income taxes, penalties, and interest for tax years 2007 through 2011, plus further interest and statutory additions that continue to accrue."

The lawsuit also highlights back taxes from 2018 that Stone failed to pay. According to the lawsuit, that year, the political operative filed a separate tax return that did not include his wife. The agency insists Stone "owes the government $407,036.84 after not paying 'in full the taxes he reported.'"

In addition to the Stones, a number of other entities are also named in the lawsuit. Law & Crime reports that those entities include: " Drake Ventures LLC (an "an alter ego of the Stones"), the Bertran Family Revocable Trust ("which holds title to the condominium where the Stones reside"), and an assortment of other parties (Broward County, Fla.; Russell Harris; Galleria Lofts Condominium Association, Inc.; and Galleria Lofts LLC)."

If the tax lawsuit proves to be ineffective in resolving the alleged debt, the Justice Department "seeks an order setting aside the transfer of the Stone Residence to the Bertran Trust as fraudulent."

"The Stones dominated and controlled Drake Ventures to such an extent that it does not exist as an independent entity," the lawsuit claims. According to court documents, the Stones "entered into an installment agreement with the IRS that required them to pay $19,485 each month toward their unpaid taxes." However, "[a]fter Roger Stone's indictment," the couple bought their home "in the name of the Bertran Trust."

Based on the suit, a total of six counts are alleged against the couple. Those counts include:

  1. Unpaid federal income taxes spanning the years 2007 through 2011 by both Roger and Nydia Stone
  2. Unpaid federal income taxes in 2018 for Roger Stone individually
  3. Alter ego liability for Drake Ventures;
  4. Fraudulent transfer to the Bertran Trust
  5. Nominee liability for the Bertran Trust
  6. The case seeks a declaratory judgment as to federal tax liens against all defendants."

Roger Stone has not yet released an official statement about the lawsuit.

Feds Sue Roger Stone Over Nearly $2 Million Unpaid Income Tax And Penalties

By Jan Wolfe (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday sued Roger Stone, saying the close ally of former President Donald Trump owes about $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes, according to a court document seen by Reuters. The civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, alleged that Stone and his wife, Nydia, used a commercial entity to "shield their personal income from enforced collection and fund a lavish lifestyle despite owing nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties." (Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)