The federal judge presiding over the case of the extortion scheme targeting Rep. Matt Gaetz’s father raised questions as to why an intelligence operative involved in the crime hasn’t been charged, according to court transcripts.
In the sentencing hearing for long-time con man Stephen Alford, who was charged in the Gaetz extortion case and sentenced to five years in prison, federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers questioned why former military intelligence officer and State Department contractor Bob Kent — who was involved in virtually every step of the crime — was not charged as well, saying she disagrees that there isn’t the evidence for it (emphasis added):
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: Is that why he’s here but no one else is here in terms of charges —
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: He is here because he is the only —
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: Excuse me — in terms of the charges in this case?
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: No. He is here because he is the only one the government has evidence committed a crime.
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: Okay.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: I don’t think the government, certainly not me, has ever asserted differently.
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: It seems like Mr. Gaetz might think differently.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: He might. He’s not a prosecutor.
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: No, and I’m not either, and I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. I just am questioning why maybe he’s the only one here and it seems like it’s his criminal history to me, but that’s just my —
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: The government has no evidence that Mr. McGee or Mr. Kent committed a crime that is provable. Otherwise, the government would have considered conspiracy charges which it did not charge; it charged substantive counts of wire fraud.
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: I don’t think you have evidence, I would agree with you, as far as Mr. McGee. I’m not so sure about Mr. Kent.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg: Well, Mr. Kent —
Federal Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers: But I don’t make those decisions.
Bob Kent is a former Air Force intelligence officer who has admitted to soliciting Don Gaetz for $25 million, which he claimed would be to free Robert Levinson, an American held captive by Iran. That claim was included in the litigation, but part of the deal was the offer of a pardon.
Kent was involved in a rescue effort that was “partly financed by the State Department” in 2020, according to Politico, and the American Conservative reported that Kent was involved in services “related to the Bob Levinson case.”
The transcript includes discussion of Kent’s “history” with the American government — “in relationship to his intelligence network, the fact that Bob Kent had been hired previously as an intelligence analyst” — and indicates that he “had been under contract with the State Department.”
The sentencing transcript shows that Kent was the first point of contact with Don Gaetz in the effort to extort him for $25 million in return for a presidential pardon for his Congressman son. The pardon would be for an alleged sex crime that, according to a recent report by NBC News, lacks evidence implicating Gaetz and which Gaetz has denied. The transcript describes how Kent instructed Gaetz to hand over $25 million to attorney David McGee and also arranged a meeting between Gaetz and Alford.
Don Gaetz explains Kent’s role and how he was involved in each step of the extortion scheme.
The transcript reads:
“The scheme to defraud my family was presented to me by Robert Kent, who represented himself as a former U.S. military Special OPS officer, someone who had been under contract with the State Department. He said he was organizing the rescue of Robert Levinson, an American who had been taken hostage in Iran, tortured, and declared dead by the U.S. Government and acknowledged as have being dead by his own family, but who Kent claimed was actually alive and could be ransomed for $25 million, $25 million to be provided by me.
In a document handed to me by Mr. Kent, I was instructed to turn over the $25 million to David McGee, an attorney in Pensacola. I was urged to meet with Mr. McGee at his law office, and Kent said that McGee, a former federal prosecutor, would vouch for the players, verify the plan, and handle the money.
In the same meeting with Robert Kent, I was informed that my son, Congressman Matt Gaetz, was in immediate legal jeopardy, would be indicted any minute, any day, based on grand jury proceedings that Kent said he had access to. But if I turned over $25 million to David McGee for this hostage rescue, then any legal problems my son might have would go away. And I was promised in that meeting — in that document handed to me by Robert Kent that President Biden would issue a Presidential pardon.
The same day Robert Kent arranged for me to meet with the third player, Stephen Alford. Of course, then I knew that this was a con. And whatever else the scheme was, the hook was to be a father’s fear about his son’s supposed indictment any minute.”
Congressman Gaetz told Breitbart News that he shares the questions and concerns of Judge Rodgers, adding that he sees the federal government refusing to hold accountable the person involved in the scheme.
“There was more than one person involved in this criminal shakedown of my family. The federal government has only chosen to hold one accountable, and I am concerned that they’re protecting the people who have the connections to the U.S. government,” Gaetz told Breitbart.