Former aide defends Matt Gaetz, but offers no evidence to prove innocence

Nathan Nelson said it is not true that he knew of illegal activities.

A former aide to U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz held a semi-official news conference Monday to act as character witness for his former boss, but he offered no evidence other than his own affirmation that he knows nothing of any illegal activities.

Retired Air Force Capt. Nathan Nelson, former Director of military affairs for Gaetz, told journalists he arranged the news conference in his Santa Rosa Beach driveway Monday after FBI agents visited him last week, responding to media reports that he had knowledge of illegal activities by Gaetz involving sexual relations with a teenager. He said the FBI asserted that may be why he resigned from Gaetz’s office last November.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Nelson said.

“This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and barely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative,” he said.

Yet Nelson said he has no first-hand information about the investigation, nor any evidence. He insisted he did not have any knowledge of any illegal activities. He said Gaetz’s staff does not either.

He said he hasn’t spoken to Gaetz “in several months.”

The allegations emerged last week when the New York Times Times reported the Justice Department was investigating Gaetz for sex trafficking. That charge comes into play because federal law prohibits someone traveling with a minor across state lines to have sex or inducing a minor across state lines to have sex in exchange for anything of value.

Besides offering himself as a character witness for Gaetz, whom he said he has known for six years, Nelson seemed intent on clearing himself from any reports that he knew of illegal activity and had resigned as a result.

Nelson said he left Gaetz’s office to pursue a private-sector job to help the military. He said he continues as an unpaid adviser in an unofficial capacity.

His news conference, however, was promoted through press releases from Gaetz’s official congressional office. Video of the news conference was carried live on Gaetz’s official congressional Facebook page, and then posted there.

Nelson said after the FBI visited he informed Gaetz’s office and was urged to hold a news conference.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • PeterH

    April 6, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    As reported in today’s New York Times, Matt Gaetz knew that there was a criminal investigation involving him and his associates at the end of last year.

    Gaetz requested from Trump a preemptive pardon for himself and his staff. Now …. who else knew about this and why is no one coming forward to demand Gaetz’s resignation?

    The Republican Party is destroying itself from within.

  • Captain obvious

    April 10, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Nefarious headline!
    So this is the new standard?
    Prove you are innocent as opposed to prove one is guilty?
    You raped me.
    Prove you didn’t.

    Pitiful this was written and approved by an “editor “.

Comments are closed.


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