Politics Justice Department Will Not Charge Rep. Matt Gaetz in Sex Trafficking Probe: Report CNN broke the news on Wednesday that the DOJ would not move forward with charges against Gaetz By Virginia Chamlee Virginia Chamlee Politics Writer - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 15, 2023 01:01 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Rep. Matt Gaetz will not face trafficking charges from the Department of Justice, after a grand jury investigated whether the Florida Republican had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid her to travel with him, a CNN journalist reported Wednesday. CNN's Paula Reid shared on Twitter that prosecutors have begun informing witnesses of their final decision after investigators recommended not moving forward with charges in the fall. News of the investigation into Gaetz, 40, first broke in March 2021. According to The New York Times, it was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under then-Attorney General Bill Barr. The Times added at the time, citing sources, that "senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation." Matt Gaetz Reportedly Investigated for Possible Trafficking of Teen Girl as He Says He Is Victim of Extortion Matt Gaetz and wife Ginger Luckey. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Sources told NBC News that Gaetz was being investigated for three separate alleged crimes: sex trafficking the 17-year-old; violating the Mann Act by taking a woman or women across state lines for prostitution; and obstruction of justice. Gaetz denied any wrongdoing, previously insisting to multiple news outlets that the overarching case was "rooted in an extortion effort" against him. But the investigation took a more serious turn after reports surfaced that one of Gaetz's ex-girlfriends had testified in court. According to NBC News, the ex-girlfriend had been in discussions with federal prosecutors about an immunity deal in exchange for her testimony. Embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz Survives Florida Primary, Overcoming Biggest Hurdle on Road to Reelection The probe involving Gaetz reportedly spun out of another investigation, into Joel Greenberg, his friend and former GOP official from Seminole County, Florida. Greenberg was indicted on a range of charges, including sex trafficking of a child, in 2020. In May, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges including sex trafficking a minor and was believed to be cooperating with authorities. Greenberg and Gaetz have been photographed together in the past. Speaking to the Times last year about his knowledge of the investigation, Gaetz said: "I only know that it has to do with women. I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward." Amid the investigation, Gaetz eloped with Ginger Luckey. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer. Gaetz was allegedly among those who asked the Trump White House for a pardon, according to several witnesses who testified in the Jan. 6 hearings. Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Gaetz had been seeking a pardon since early December 2020, saying he had requested a meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows "about receiving a presidential pardon." Hutchinson's testimony was backed up by several others in Trump's orbit, including former White House senior advisor Eric Herschmann, who said: "The pardon that [Gaetz] was discussing, requesting, was as broad as you could describe, from... the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things."