The development is the latest signal that the long-term study of Gaetz remains active. A source familiar with the case had previously told CNN that the ex-girlfriend would appear before the grand jury.
CNN saw the woman arrive at a federal courthouse in Orlando, Florida, along with her attorney Wednesday. She has since ended her testimony in the Gaetz case and left the courthouse.
Her lawyer, Timothy Jansen, spoke briefly to journalists gathered outside the courthouse. “All I can say is that CNN saw me and my client come in and I confirm that I’m here, but I can not comment,” he said.
The woman, a former Capitol Hill employee, has been linked to Gaetz as far back as the summer of 2017. Investigators are interested in that period because that is when the congressman is accused of having sexual contact with another woman who was 17 years old. . years old at the time.
The ex-girlfriend could also be an integral part of authorities investigating potential obstruction of justice when the investigation into Gaetz’s behavior was heated up. CNN has reported that investigators are aware of a discussion that Gaetz and a colleague had about talking to her in October 2020.
Legal experts say the ex-girlfriend’s testimony is an important step that prosecutors would take before prosecuting Gaetz, and that it signals federal prosecutors may be close to prosecuting the congressman. Any criminal charge against a sitting member of Congress must be approved at the highest level of the Department of Justice.
Several people with knowledge of the case have told CNN that a large jury – a group of laymen who hear evidence presented by prosecutors behind closed doors about a potential crime – has met in the George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse regarding the Gaetz investigation.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.
Lawyers for Gaetz said in a statement Wednesday that they have seen “no credible basis” for an indictment against Gaetz, saying they “remain steadfast in our commitment to challenge any claim with facts and law.”
This story has been updated with further developments.