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In June, Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) campaign paid $25,000 to a criminal defense attorney whose website says he specializes in “subtle, novel, and creative arguments that other attorneys may miss,” The Washington Post reports.
The payment for legal consulting was noted in a filing made Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. The attorney, Marc Fernich, is based in Manhattan and once represented Jeffrey Epstein and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. His website boasts that the arguments he presents in court “can make potential winners out of seemingly hopeless cases, spelling the difference between victory and defeat.”
The Justice Department has been investigating whether Gaetz was involved in the possible sex trafficking of a minor; he has denied the allegation. Thursday’s filing also shows Gaetz’s campaign made a $25,000 payment for legal consulting to Zuckerman Spaeder, a law firm based in Washington, D.C. Fernich and Zuckerman Spaeder did not immediately respond to the Post’s requests for comment.
Harlan Hill, a spokesman for Gaetz, told the Post that during the second quarter of the year, Gaetz raised more than $1.3 million, with most of it from individuals. The re-election campaign for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also made a $3,000 contribution.