Matt Gaetz's communications director resigns amid sexual assault charges against the congressman.
Luke Ball, Congressman Matt Gaetz's communications director, resigned on Friday amid reports that Gaetz had an unwelcome sexual contact with a minor and a reported investigation into possible federal sex trafficking law violations.
"The offices of Congressman Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have determined that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways," Gaetz's office said in a statement. "We appreciate his time in our office and wish him the best in the future."
Ball began working for Gaetz in February 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile, as an intern at the District Office in Pensacola, Florida, and worked his way up to the position of Communications Director in November 2019. Ball also formed RightLife Media, a social media marketing firm, earlier this year.
Ball did not respond to a request for comment from CBS News.
The resignation follows scathing New York Times claims that Gaetz is being prosecuted by the Justice Department for alleged violations of human trafficking laws. According to the Times, he has also been accused of having unwanted sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl whom Gaetz allegedly charged to accompany him on his travels. According to the Times, the Justice Department is investigating the case, including whether Gaetz paid for sexual interactions with women hired online by former Seminole County, Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg.
Gaetz's office released a statement in response to the report, claiming that the congressman "has never paid for sex" and "absolutely refutes all the disgusting allegations."
"Matt Gaetz has never been on any of these pages," the office said. "Matt Gaetz cherishes his past relationships and anticipates marrying the love of his life."
Gaetz has characterized the accusations against him as "an orchestrated criminal extortion," and in a March 30 tweet, he said that a former Department of Justice official was seeking $25 million and threatening to "smear" his reputation.
"We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter... and my father has also been instructed by the FBI to wear a wire in order to apprehend these criminals. Tonight's planted FBI leak was intended to hinder the investigation "According to Gaetz. "Not a single accusation leveled against me is valid."