Florida resident Stephen Alford was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for attempting to extort $25 million from former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Northwest Florida Daily News reported.
Court documents showed that Alford planned to approach Matt Gaetz about saving him from his own legal troubles, specifically an ongoing investigation into the potential sex trafficking of a minor.
In return, the elder Gaetz would put $25 million towards freeing CIA operative Robert Levinson held hostage by the Iranian government. Alford said the scheme could make his son’s charges disappear, and even make him look like a hero in the process.
“I have a plan that can make his future legal and political problems go away,” a text message received by Don Gaetz read. “Last summer we located Robert Levinson in Iran and took two proof of life videos, but the U.S. government foiled our rescue attempts.”
“If you and (Matt Gaetz) are willing to help us privately and clandestinely obtain the release of Robert Levinson I will ensure that (Matt Gaetz) is on the plane that delivers Levinson to his family, thus making him the most sought after public figure in the world,” the text continued.
Alford also made the shocking claim that he could secure a pardon from President Joe Biden on Matt Gaetz of any possible wrongdoing, adding that “he considers the release of Robert Levinson a matter of national urgency.”
Later, Alford admitted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that he lacked any assurance within the Biden administration that Matt Gaetz could receive a pardon.
“Alford’s fraudulent scheme was thus making materially false promises to obtain millions of dollars from Don Gaetz though Alford knew he couldn’t guarantee a pardon for (Matt Gaetz),” the court document read.
Matt Gaetz has continually denied any allegations that he trafficked a 17-year-old girl to begin with. The claim was first made by his former business associate Joel Greenberg, who is currently indicted for sex trafficking crimes of his own.
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