Stephen Alford, one of the men who U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz accused of being behind a plot to extort $25 million from his family in exchange for having a federal sex investigation into the congressman go away, is heading to jail.
Alford pleaded guilty Monday to charges of wire fraud and attempting to stop authorities from viewing his iPhone. A federal grand jury indicted the 62-year-old Alford in Pensacola, Florida in late August.
The indictment said that Alford was part of a scheme to get $25 million from a person identified only as “D.G.” In exchange, Alford promised he could get a presidential pardon from then-President Donald Trump — and later President Joe Biden — for a family member, as well as fund the release of someone identified only as “R.L.”
Matt Gaetz’s father is Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate.
Others who approached Don Gaetz have said in news reports that they wanted to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago.
Matt Gaetz, who represents parts of western Florida, is under federal investigation over accusations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid her to travel with him.
Gaetz has vigorously denied that he ever had a relationship with any underage girls and says the allegations are false.
The congressman was widely criticized by the mainstream media when he first claimed the allegations were part of an extortion plot.
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Alford will be sentenced on February 16 of next year. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this article