Who is David McGee? DOJ ex-official accused of trying to extort $25M from Matt Gaetz calls allegations 'false'
Rep Matt Gaetz is currently under a federal investigation for sex trafficking, which has gotten more complex after allegations of extortion. Gaetz has accused a former Department of Justice (DoJ) official of extorting him for $25 million in return for making the sex trafficking allegations go away. The Florida Congressman has called on the FBI to release tapes of the alleged extortion, which he claims were made by David McGee.
The probe was initiated by the Trump Justice Department, under Attorney General Bill Barr. Reportedly, Gaetz paid for a 17-year-old girl to travel with him two years ago. Not only has Gaetz denied those allegations, but he put an entirely different spin on it. In a series of tweets, the Congressman said that the leak of the investigation was part of a plan to thwart a probe into extortion against him.
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McGee, a former federal prosecutor in Florida has since denied the allegations. He flatly called Gaetz's claims "false" and agreed that the tapes be released by the FBI. McGee's involvement is not exactly clear. Gaetz hasn't provided proof and the FBI is yet to issue a comment on how the prosecutor is involved in the investigation into sex trafficking. Here's what we know about McGee, and his possible connection to the probe.
Who is David McGee?
With over 37 years of experience, McGee is a well-regarded lawyer who currently works in Flordia. In 1970, he graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in engineering science. He then changed course and graduated in 1976 with a JD degree from the same university. The same year, he was accepted to the Bar in Florida. Before entering private practice, he was an employee of the federal government in various roles. He served as the Lead Attorney for an Organized Crime Task Force at the DoJ between 1983 and 1991. McGee then served as the First Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office till 1996.
As a result of his long and distinguished service for the government, McGee has won several awards. Those include two Outstanding Service Awards, and two Certificates of Appreciation, including one from the Secret Service. What exactly he did to receive those awards is unclear. One could be for the role he played in understanding what happened to CIA spy Robert Levinson. In 2007, Levinson disappeared while attempting to expose corruption in the Iranian government.
A press release says McGee was an old friend of Levinson, and when he heard Levinson had disappeared, he "immediately began contacting agencies in the U.S. Government to seek their help in securing his safe return home." When the CIA refused to accept Levinson was working for them, McGee began digging into the connection. His findings led to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, and the firing of the personnel responsible. Levinson is still missing, and McGee is leading the efforts to find him and bring him back.
McGee currently works at Beggs & Lane, a law firm based in Pensacola. He joined the firm in 1996 and has been with them since. According to the firm's website, he has extensive experience in "health care billing cases, large construction projects, environmental enforcement, tax cases, and hundreds of securities cases." Not much is known about McGree's private life. A profile on Martindale says that he was born in 1948, putting him at around 73 years of age now. Beyond that, we have no information since McGee doesn't seem to have a public profile on social media.
How did McGree get involved with Gaetz? It's unclear since McGee was not a federal employee when Gaetz was elected to Congress. However, the duo could have bumped into each other at some point since they both live in Florida.
Allegations against McGee
Earlier today, Gaetz issued a series of tweets calling the case against him 'a case of organized criminal extortion'. According to Gaetz, the DoJ investigation into Gaetz was leaked to The New York Times on purpose. The investigation has been going on for months now and is part of a wider probe into Florida official Joel Greenberg. Gaetz claimed that the story was leaked because he was working with the FBI on a case of extortion against him.
The Congressman tweeted, "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. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter... " He added that his father had been wearing a wire to help with the investigation. Gaetz also said, "I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations."
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.— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter...
...of the ongoing extortion investigation.— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 30, 2021
I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.
Gaetz named McGee as the former DoJ official on an interview with Tucker Carlson. In response, McGee has called the allegations "completely, totally false." In an interview with the Daily Beast, McGee said, "this is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls". He also welcomed the release of the tapes by the FBI, saying, "there is nothing on that tape that is untoward. It is a pleasant conversation of a dad concerned about his son and the trouble his son was in."