Federal authorities indicted a man on Tuesday who stands accused of extorting Rep. Matt Gaetz’s father for $25 million. For months, Gaetz has claimed Stephen Alford, the indicted man, conspired with a former Air Force intelligence officer and a retired DoJ prosecutor to extort his family, amid an ongoing FBI investigation into the lawmaker for sex trafficking. At the center of the alleged plot was an attempt by the group to free an ex-American spy, Bob Levinson, who was captured in Iran over a decade ago and believed to be dead.

The development raises more questions than answers in the Matt Gaetz sex trafficking saga. Specifically, how did a convicted fraudster, the Dilbert cartoonist and the media director for the Israeli consulate find out about the FBI investigation into Gaetz before anyone else? Moreover, does this exonerate Gaetz or add more confusion to an already embarrassing scandal? And finally, is Bob Levinson alive?

Florida developer Alford was indicted for allegedly extorting Don Gaetz in order to free ex-FBI agent Bob Levinson from Iranian custody, in exchange for a presidential pardon to exonerate his son from any crimes related to the FBI probe into sex trafficking allegations. Alford, 62, was charged by a grand jury on wire fraud and the attempted prevention of an electronic device’s seizure. Previously, Alford has was convicted of federal fraud charges and faced fraud charges from Florida state prosecutors in 2015.

Between March and April, Alford purportedly participated in a scheme known as ‘Project Homecoming’. Alford is claimed to have said that if his team successfully delivered Levinson to Biden after receiving payment from Don Gaetz, the President would ‘pardon or instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any investigations involving’ Rep. Gaetz. This information correlates with the allegations made by Gaetz earlier this year. In March, the New York Times reported Gaetz was under investigation by the DoJ over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, citing three people familiar with the case. Gaetz denied the allegations during an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight, claiming he and his family had ‘been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DoJ official’ for $25 million.

In 2007, Levinson disappeared in Iran while investigating the regime’s money-laundering operations in an off-the-books mission for the Central Intelligence Agency. The organization never revealed the full scope of Levinson’s assignment. Moreover, Levinson’s family received a $2.5 million annuity from the CIA to stop a lawsuit revealing the details of his work, according to the Associated Press.

Gaetz provided reporters in March with a document entitled ‘Project Homecoming’ and alleged former Air Force intelligence officer Robert Kent and David McGee, a former federal prosecutor in Florida, were also involved in the extortion attempt.

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Given to The Spectator  by Gaetz, first reported by the Washington Examiner

Last year, Levinson’s family said US officials told them that he had died in Iranian custody. McGee and Kent both have ties to the Levinson, with McGee as the family’s attorney, and in December 2018, Kent claimed he had been on a secret mission to rescue Levinson but was stopped by the federal government. Gaetz claims Alford and his father were to meet and discuss the payments he was making to McGee. However, it allegedly fell through after the press reported on the DoJ’s sexual misconduct investigation later that month.

Gaetz claims the charges vindicate him and prove ‘they tried to extort me on a pile of lies’.

‘Alford wasn’t acting alone, and former DoJ official David McGee as well as State Department contractor Bob Kent must now also face justice,’ Harlan Hill, a spokesperson for Gaetz, told The Spectator. ‘The release of the Alford tapes will further exculpate Rep. Gaetz and implicate those with long-standing links to the federal government.’

Yet the indictment does mention Gaetz by name and refers to his father as ‘D.G.’ while outlining the Homecoming plot. Gaetz told multiple outlets that his father worked with the FBI and had worn a wire during his interactions with Kent and Alford.

If convicted on all charges, Alford faces up to 25 years in prison. Federal prosecutors said he appeared in federal court Tuesday and is currently in the custody of US Marshals.

Another point to Gaetz’s extortion allegations includes a text conversation between Dilbert creator Scott Adams and Jake Novak, media director of the Israeli consulate in New York City. Days before the  Times  broke the Gaetz scandal, Novak texted Adams about it. In the conversation, Novak says the extortion allegations are ‘screwing up my efforts to free Bob Levinson’.

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‘Gaetz’s dad was secretly finding [sic] us,’ he adds. ‘So I’m very much wanting this to be untrue. I’ve got a commando team leader friend of mine nervously waiting for the wire transfers to clear.’

In a third screenshot, Novak then dismisses Gaetz’s claims and implicates himself in the matter. ‘The real documents do not extort,’ he told Adams. ‘And we only asked for $25 million as an estimate at first. We came way down.’ These screenshots were first reported by the American Conservative and then independently verified by The Spectator.