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Matt Gaetz's communications director resigns as congressman faces allegations of sexual misconduct

Gaetz sex-trafficking investigation grows
DOJ investigation into Matt Gaetz grows as feds eye possible cash payments to women 01:55

Luke Ball, the communications director for Congressman Matt Gaetz, resigned from his position on Friday amid allegations that Gaetz had an inappropriate sexual encounter with a minor and a reported investigation into alleged violations of federal sex trafficking laws.

"The Office of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it would be best to part ways," Gaetz's office said in a statement. "We thank him for his time in our office, and we wish him the best moving forward." 

Ball has worked for Gaetz since February 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile, starting as an intern at the Pensacola, Florida, District Office and working his way up to become Communications Director in November 2019. Last year, Ball also founded RightLife Media, a social media marketing company. 

Ball has not returned CBS News' request for comment.

The resignation came in the wake of scathing New York Times reports saying Gaetz is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible violations of sex trafficking laws. The Times said he's also been accused of having inappropriate sexual encounters with a 17-year-old girl, whom Gaetz purportedly paid to travel with him. The Justice Department is investigating the situation, including whether Gaetz paid to have sex with women who were recruited online by former Seminole County, Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, according to the Times.

In response to the story, Gaetz's office issued a statement saying the congressman "has never paid for sex" and "refutes all the disgusting allegations completely." 

"Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever," the office said. "Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life."

Gaetz has called the allegations against him "an organized criminal extortion," and he claimed in a March 30 tweet that a former Department of Justice official was demanding $25 million and threatening to "smear" his 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," Gaetz said. "No part of the allegations against me are true." 

Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting. 

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