News & Politics

Man Behind Alleged Gaetz Extortion Scheme Admits Wanting $25 Million

AP Photo/John Raoux

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has claimed that the sexual misconduct allegations made against him were part of an extortion scheme, and Bob Kent, one of the men allegedly involved in the scheme, all but confirmed in an interview on “The Michael Smerconish Program” on SiriusXM radio on Monday that he had asked Gaetz’s father for $25 million—but insists it was not extortion.

Kent says he needed the money to help find FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in March 2007 and is presumed to be dead by his family, but Kent claims he’s seen video evidence that Levinson is alive in Iran.

“Matt Gaetz is in need of good publicity, and I’m in need of $25 million to rescue Robert Levinson,” Kent said on the show, and acknowledged that he asked Gaetz’s father for the money.

“At first he started laughing and he said, ‘You know we get these extortion attempts all the time,’ And I said whoa, stop. This is not an extortion attempt. I’m not trying to extort him, I’m not, you know, that’s not what we’re doing here.”

But according to a report from the Washington Examiner, Gaetz, “possesses text message screenshots, an email, and a typed document that purportedly support his claims that a federal investigation into his relationship with a 17-year-old is related to an extortion scheme against him.” According to screenshots provided to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Gaetz’s father, Don Gaetz, a former Florida state Senate president, received a text message from Kent on March 16 proposing “a plan that can make [Matt Gaetz’s] future legal and political problems go away.”

Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.