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Gaetz says he won't resign over 'false' sex allegations

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2021, file photo, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.,, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

WASHINGTONRep. Matt Gaetz said Monday he will not leave Congress and denied that he “slept with” an underage girl, suggesting that accusations against him stem from political foes angry that he “loathes the swamp.”

The Florida Republican, starting his fifth year in Congress, has been battling to preserve his political career since reports last week that he is under federal investigation for possible sex crimes. In a column in the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Gaetz predicted that “some of my feckless colleagues in Congress" will call for him to step down.

“No, I am absolutely not resigning," he wrote Monday.

An aggressive and high-profile ally of Donald Trump, Gaetz has so far received almost no public support from his congressional Republican colleagues and none from the former president.

Gaetz, 38, is under scrutiny over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex. That's according to people familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss details publicly.

Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crimes, denied the accusations Monday.

“First, I have never, ever paid for sex," he wrote. “And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old."

Engaged since New Year's Eve, he wrote, “My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal."