Accusations that a former Air Force intelligence officer attempting to get $25 million from Florida Representative Matt Gaetz's father were proven true during a Monday night interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Bob Kent said that he asked the Gaetz family for $25 million for financing a rescue attempt for American hostage Robert Levinson in Iran.
According to Kent, involving Gaetz in the rescue mission was thought to help create "good will" for the representative as he faces his current "legal issues," referencing the current investigation for his alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Kent claimed Gaetz would be given public credit for the rescue and they would tell President Biden to give him a pardon in the sex trafficking case if they provided the money.
"Matt Gaetz is in need of some good will from the government, I'm in need of a sponsor to fund the rescue project," Kent said.
Kent insisted that it was not an extortion attempt, and that he would leave the family alone if the had said no.
"I stopped [Don] immediately and explained this was not an extortion attempt,' he explained. 'I said, look, this is a legitimate offer to help rescue Robert Levinson," he said.
A text message was sent to Don from Kent asking about the funding.
"Mr. Gaetz, I would like to talk with you immediately about the current federal investigation, and the indictment that is about to be filed against your son. I have a plan that can make his future legal and political problems go away," the text message reads.
Levinson disappeared in 2007 while in Iran working for the FBI. Nothing was known about his whereabouts until 2011 when images and video were shared by the Levinson Family showing him pleading for help. US Officials informed the Levinson family In March 2020 that he had died in Iranian captivity.
Kent allegedly has evidence that Levinson is still alive, and the funding from the Gaetz family would allegedly help finally reunite him with his family. He told Cuomo that he had video of Levinson alive, that he had showed to Don.
"I showed his the two videos that I took last summer, or that my team took last summer of Robert Levinson. I explained how we tried to rescue him in July, and said look, I said that operation fell apart, I lost four people, we had no budget. But we believe theres an opportunity to get him out from the top down this time but it would cost quite a bit of money," said Kent.
Gaetz's investigation came to light last week after The New York Times published an article citing three anonymous sources talking about a current investigation by the Department of Justice against Gaetz for allegedly sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl.
Gaetz denies the claims, saying that he’s being targeted by extortionists, David McGee and Kent, that are using the the sex trafficking investigation as leverage to get money from his family.
Gaetz's father Don said they were working with the FBI to investigate the reported extortion attempt.
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Gaetz denied the accusations and said he would not be leaving congress.
"No, I am absolutely not resigning... First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old... Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics. Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal," Gaetz wrote.