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Weekend Review: FL Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Raunchy Games Under Investigation
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is under federal investigation concerning his sexual relationships, which reportedly may have included sex with a minor.
According to The New York Times, investigators found communications between Gaetz and another Florida Republican, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, suggesting they both solicited sex with women in exchange for payment. Greenberg was indicted for allegedly trafficking and paying a minor for sex and has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Several sources told the Times that Gaetz was known to brag about sexual conquests, often showing colleagues nude photos of various women. Investigators want to know whether Gaetz solicited sex with an individual who was 17-years-old at the time, paying for her to cross state lines at some point to have sex with him. If he did, the Department of Justice could prosecute him for federal sex trafficking of a minor.
Gaetz’s office told the Times that he has “never paid for sex.” He previously claimed that someone was trying to extort him by exploiting how he “provided for women he dated.” He continues to assert that all of the allegations of misconduct against him are false.
Derek Chauvin Trial Begins with Testimony from Regretful Witnesses
The murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, opened this week. The first days were full of testimony from first responders and emotional witnesses.
Christopher Martin was working as a cashier at a store where Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes. He said he approached Floyd outside of the store at his manager’s instruction after initially hesitating to confront him. Martin changed his mind after he considered that the $20 would be taken from his own paycheck.
The police were called when Floyd refused to return to the store. Martin said he was left in “disbelief and guilt” when he later saw Chauvin kneeling on Floyd outside.
Another witness testified that he “called the police on the police” because he believes he “witnessed a murder.” Many shared that they regret not doing more to help Floyd, though one emergency worker who was off-duty that day said she was prevented from providing emergency assistance by officers.
To close the week, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-serving member of the department, testified that there was “no reason” for the officers to have believed that “they were in danger, if that’s what they felt.” He noted the use of the restraint position by Chauvin on Floyd, who was face-down and handcuffed, was “top-tier, deadly force.”
Chauvin’s attorney argued that the crowd of onlookers created concern for the officers’ safety, thus diverting their attention from Floyd. Zimmerman refuted that by saying the crowd was not attacking the officers and therefore should not have had an impact on the officers’ actions.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
California Mass Shooting Leaves 4 Dead, Including 9-Year-Old
Four people were killed in a shooting at a California office complex on Wednesday evening. Among the first victims discovered was a 9-year-old boy, Matthew Farias, who died in his mother’s arms.
Police say the killer knew and targeted his adult victims. He locked gates to prevent escape and delay police access to the scene. Officers were able to shoot and seriously wound him through the gate.
Capitol Checkpoint Attack Leaves One Officer Dead
A Capitol police officer was killed on Friday following an attack at a security checkpoint near the Capitol complex. William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, died after being struck by a vehicle which was used to ram a barricade.
The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Noah Green from Indiana, was shot after exiting his vehicle and brandishing a knife at officers. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after.
A motive has not been announced, but Green had shared posts on social media about having a “tough” few years. He had also been sharing information about the Nation of Islam, a “designated hate group” which does not follow the traditional teachings of Islam, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Though an investigation is ongoing, officials reportedly believe this to be an isolated incident carried out by a disturbed individual. There is no current indication that he was part of a larger threat.
More than 50 Killed After Train Derails in Taiwan
At least 51 people were killed after a train derailed into a tunnel in eastern Taiwan when a piece of construction equipment reportedly slid onto the track.
Officials are investigating the accident. A construction site manager was arrested for negligence but has since been released on bail.