Former Matt Gaetz staff member and Air Force veteran to address media late Monday morning

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

SANTA ROSA BEACH — The former military affairs director for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz will hold a news conference late Monday morning regarding a recent visit to his home by FBI agents. The visit was connected to a Department of Justice investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, in possible violation of sex trafficking laws.

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And this from 2017:Gaetz casts lone ‘no’ vote on sex trafficking bill

Retired Air Force Capt. Nathan Nelson, expressing incredulity at the DOJ probe now involving his former boss, said Sunday night he will use the news conference to refute rumors that he had knowledge of Gaetz's alleged activities which prompted his departure from the congressman's office.

Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks during a recent appearance at the Niceville  Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce in Niceville.

The inquiry into Gaetz, who represents Northwest Florida in Congress, grew out of a Justice Department probe of former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, a friend of the congressman. Greenberg has been indicted on charges including sex trafficking of a child, charges to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Gaetz did not ask him to address the media, Nelson said in an interview late Sunday night, nor did Nelson tell Gaetz that he planned to host the news conference. However, the emailed media advisory announcing the press conference came from one of Gaetz's aides and carried the official letterhead of Gaetz's office. 

More:Spokesman for Rep. Matt Gaetz resigns 'out of principle' as DOJ investigates alleged sex with minor, payments for sex

Most of Nelson's work as Gaetz's military affairs director was done in the congressman's district rather than in Washington, D.C., which Nelson said he had visited only a handful of times during his four years with Gaetz. 

Retired Air Force Capt. Nathan Nelson, right, speaks with an attendee at a 2018 military contracting event in Miramar Beach. Nelson, former military affairs director for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was questioned by the FBI last week in connection with a Department of Justice inquiry into whether Gaetz is involved in the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.

Nelson said Sunday that he first learned of the DOJ investigation into the congressman's alleged activities through news reports the evening before the FBI came to his home. The FBI agents asked him whether he had any knowledge of Gaetz's activities in connection with the probe into sex trafficking, Nelson said, and told him that he likely would get additional questions from the Justice Department.

More:Rep. Matt Gaetz's media blitz publicized a federal investigation. Legal experts say that poses risks

Nelson, who said he will take questions from the media on Monday, said other Gaetz staff members also will be on hand, and also could take questions.

Since learning of the Department of Justice investigation broadening to include Gaetz, Nelson has been in touch with members of the congressman's staff — with whom he has maintained frequent business contact — to get a sense of their reaction to the DOJ investigation in terms of his own view that the alleged conduct was not characteristic of Gaetz.

"I wanted to make sure nothing had changed," Nelson said.