The man Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., claimed was extorting his family for $25 million has confirmed that he indeed wanted that very amount, though he used a term other than extortion.
Bob Kent, whom Gaetz said was involved in an attempt to shake down his family, said in an interview Monday on SiriusXM’s “The Michael Smerconish Program” that he asked Gaetz’s father for $25 million.
Insisting that it wasn’t extortion, Kent told Smerconish that he was in need of money to help locate missing FBI agent Robert Levinson, and he had heard Gaetz was under investigation. Seeing this as an opportunity that could mutually benefit both parties, he then approached the family.
“Matt Gaetz is in need of good publicity,” he said, “and I’m in need of $25 million to rescue Robert Levinson.”
Levinson disappeared in 2007 and, while his family believes him to be dead, Kent has claimed he has seen video evidence that leads him to believe Levinson is alive in Iran, according to Fox News.
Kent, who worked in Air Force intelligence, admitted in the interview that he met with Gaetz’s father, Don Gaetz, and asked for the money. The senior Gaetz was a member of the Florida State Senate and reportedly has a net worth around $40 million.
“At first he started laughing and he said, ‘You know we get these extortion attempts all the time,’” Kent said. “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.”
Kent claimed that he presented the video evidence, which allegedly interested Gaetz, but added there was no extortion involved.
“I never threatened the man — matter of fact, it was the opposite: I told him if he decides not to help us, he’ll never hear from me again,” he said. “I said if you want to help us, keep everything legal and above-board, it’ll have to go through the law firm.”
This being a reference to Levinson family attorney David McGee, with whom he had been working — in an appearance last week on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the younger Gaetz named McGee as being behind the extortion attempt.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 31, 2021
At that meeting, Kent gave the elder Gaetz a three-page document outlining “Project Homecoming,” according to the Washington Examiner. Their quest to save Levinson coming at the cost of a $25 million loan.
More from the Examiner:
The Project Homecoming document states that Gaetz is “under investigation by the FBI for various public corruption and public integrity issues” and alleges that the FBI is aware of photos depicting Gaetz in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”
“In exchange for the funds being arranged, and upon the release of Mr. Levinson, the team that delivers Mr. Levinson to the President of The United States shall strongly advocate that President Biden issue a Presidential Pardon, or instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any and all investigations involving Congressman Gaetz,” the document reads.
The New York Times reported last week that Rep. Gaetz is the subject of a Justice Department investigation involving an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. The lawmaker has called the report “totally false.”
Kent sent Gaetz’s father a text message last month that reportedly said, “I have a plan that can make his future legal and political problems go away.”
He told Smerconish that he was not the author of the Project Homecoming document, saying Stephen Alford penned it. Fox News reported Alford has multiple fraud-related arrests and served a 10-year federal prison sentence for fraud.
Attorney Jeffrey Neiman said in a March 25 email to the Justice Department, “My client, Don Gaetz, was approached by two individuals to make a sizable payment in what I would call a scheme to defraud.”
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