David McGee is a Florida attorney and former federal prosecutor who is denying extortion accusations leveled by a sitting congressman.
Republican U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz accused McGee of trying to extort him on the Tucker Carlson show in response to a New York Times report that said Gaetz was under investigation for a possible sex trafficking allegation.
It’s believed that the Gaetz allegations stem from the federal prosecution of a former Seminole County tax collector named Joel Greenberg, an ally of Gaetz. Greenberg is fighting multiple charges against him, including accusations he had “sugar baby” relationships. Gaetz’ bombshell claim against McGee came in the wake of the Times report.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McGee’s Law Firm Says He Would ‘Never Have Entertained a Scheme’ of Extortion
Gaetz also lobbed the extortion claims on Twitter. He wrote, “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter…and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals. The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets……of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.”
McGee’s law firm released a statement denying the accusations from Gaetz.
WATCH: Rep. Matt Gaetz responds on Tucker Carlson Tonight to allegations of sexual misconduct:
He says a former DOJ official named David McGee is trying to extort is family for money
He says that the FBI and DOJ have audio recordings that will prove his innocence. pic.twitter.com/J95AEFtxsr
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 31, 2021
“Congressman Matt Gaetz made an allegation on The Tucker Carlson show last night that David L. McGee, a partner in the firm of Beggs & Lane, had attempted to extort money from Gaetz and his family in exchange for McGee making the investigation against Congressman Gaetz ‘go away.’ The allegation by the Congressman is both false and defamatory,” McGee’s law firm said in a statement, according to WENY. “While he was with the DOJ he would never have entertained a scheme such as what Congressman Gaetz suggests nor would he today. Unsubstantiated allegations do not change that fact.”
On Fox News, Gaetz denied the sex trafficking allegation, saying, “The person doesn’t exist. I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false. The allegation is, as I read in the New York Times is, I have traveled with some 17-year-old in some relationship. That is false and records will bear that out to be false.”
2. The Extortion Claims Center on an Alleged Attempt to Free an American, Robert Levinson, From Iran
According to the Washington Examiner, Gaetz’s allegations against McGee also involve a “former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent.”
They’re accused of working to “free ex-FBI agent-turned-private investigator Robert Levinson from imprisonment in Iran,” the Examiner reported. Levinson disappeared in 2007. The site says that McGee is a lawyer for Levinson’s family and Kent worked in vain to try to free him.
The Examiner claimed it had seen screenshots that show a message allegedly from Kent to Gaetz’s father Don, who is a former state Senate president in Florida. The message proposes “a plan that can make [Matt Gaetz’s] future legal and political problems go away,” according to the Examiner report.
The report continues, “Kent also requested the Gaetz family’s help returning Levinson in exchange for giving Matt Gaetz credit for the operation and promising a presidential pardon for unnamed legal issues.”
According to the Examiner, Gaetz’s father met with Kent who gave him a document saying that Levinson could be saved “at the cost of a $25 million loan” that would be “deposited in the trust account of Beggs & Land, naming David L. McGee, and deposited no later than March 19.”
The document also allegedly stated that Matt Gaetz is “under investigation by the FBI for various public corruption and public integrity issues” including photos allegedly showing Gaetz in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”
“In exchange for the funds being arranged, and upon the release of Mr. Levinson, the team that delivers Mr. Levinson to the President of The United States shall strongly advocate that President Biden issue a Presidential Pardon, or instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any and all investigations involving Congressman Gaetz,” the document reads, according to the Examiner report.
3. McGee Worked on an Organized Crime Task Force for the U.S. Department of Justice
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) on Fox News just accused David McGee, former DOJ official now with the Florida law firm Beggs & Lane, of attempting to extort him. McGee did not immediately responded to requests for comment via email/phone pic.twitter.com/J05P0cGseP
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) March 31, 2021
McGee spent years as a federal prosecutor, including working on the organized crime task force for the U.S. Department of Justice. McGee is an attorney at the law firm of Beggs & Lane. Its website says,
Mr. McGee has an extraordinary range of experience in matters before federal courts. He has practiced law for more than 37 years. Prior to going into private practice he served for six years as the First Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office and for seven years as the Lead Attorney for a United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Task Force.
The bio continues that McGee “has extensive experience in complex litigation both in the civil and criminal arena and in courts throughout the United States. His litigation experience includes complex health care billing cases, large construction projects, environmental enforcement, tax cases and hundreds of securities cases.”
4. McGee Is a Graduate of Florida State University & a Recipient of Multiple Service Awards
According to his law firm bio, McGee has a B.S. in Engineering Science (1970) from Florida State University. He obtained a J.D., with honors (1976), from the same university.
He was admitted to the Florida bar in 1976. He lists the following under bar memberships.
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida – 1978
U.S. District Court Middle District of Alabama – 2004
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida – 2000
5th Circuit Court of Appeals – 1981
11th Circuit Court of Appeals – 1981
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals – 2006
His website further states that he has received these awards:
Outstanding Service Award – U.S. Department of Justice (1996)
Outstanding Service Award – U.S. Marshall’s Service (1996)
Special Commendation from the Director of the FBI (1988)
Certificate of Appreciation – U.S. Secret Service (1996)
Certificate of Appreciation – U.S. Treasury Service (1996)
5. McGee Went After the Money of Famed Attorney F. Lee Bailey
One of the notable cases McGee handled: The prosecution of famed attorney F. Lee Bailey. Bailey defended such famous defendants as the Boston Strangler and O.J. Simpson.
“Frankly, we do not trust Mr. Bailey,” McGee, then an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At one point, Bailey was found in contempt of court, leading McGee to say that Bailey “has defied the order of his court. I suggest, Your Honor, that you put Mr. F. Lee Bailey in jail in this district until he produces to this court the money he has stolen from the people of the United States,” according to The Journal Times. Bailey was accused of failing to hand over stock that related to the case of an alleged drug smuggler named Claude Duboc.
These are some of the notable cases that McGee says he handled.
U.S. v. F. Lee Bailey, Case No. 1:94cr1009-MP-5 (N.D. Fla. 1996)
U.S. v. Ross, 33 F.3d (11th Cir. 1994)
U.S. v. Knowles, 66 F. 3d 1146 (11th Cir. 1995)
U.S. v. Inco Bank & Trust Corp., 845 F. 2d 919 (11th Cir. 1988)
U.S. v. Darby, 744 F.2d 1508 (11th Cir. 1984)
U.S. v. Russell, 703 F.2d 1243 (11th Cir. 1983)