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The Daily Beast

How Instagram Models Kneecapped Matt Gaetz

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyIf the federal investigation into Matt Gaetz does indeed end up spelling the MAGA congressman’s downfall, it’ll be partly because of a group of “wannabe” Instagram influencers.On this week’s episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, hosts Will Sommer and Asawin Suebsaeng welcome fellow Beast reporters Jose Pagliery and Roger Sollenberger, the duo that’s been breaking story after story on the Gaetz scandal in recent weeks. The pair reveal new details on the Gaetz saga that haven’t been publicly released before, including additional passages from the confession letter secretly written by disgraced Gaetz wingman Joel Greenberg, and sent to Trump associate and longtime GOP ratfucker Roger Stone.And when it comes to the Daily Beast duo’s broader investigative work into Gaetz and Co., much of it would not have been possible if it weren’t for users chasing clout on Instagram.4 Women Say Matt Gaetz’s Wingman Pressured Them to Have Sex “These are people who are amateur Instagram models,” Pagliery told Fever Dreams, referring to the network of women they uncovered that led directly to Gaetz and Greenberg. “So many of these were, like, wannabe escorts. They wanted to project a version of themselves out to the galaxy. And, you know, I got so… incredulous at one point a few weeks ago that I just decided to tweet, ‘You think you’re doing it for your brand, but you’re actually doing it for my investigation,’ because these people are just putting it out there front and center.”According to Sollenberger and Pagliery, Gaetzgate is set to heat up once again this week—and the two reporters gave a hint of what we can expect.“So, we know that this is heating up, particularly again, because we’ve got a deadline on May 15th for Greenberg to become a fully cooperating witness for the government,” Pagliery said. “And there’s not just that. We also hear that the feds are pressuring other people who have direct knowledge of this… The world for Matt Gaetz in the near term looks extremely difficult because it’s not just that there’s some evidence—there’s a lot of evidence, and there are several witnesses.”Pagliery continued, “There’s another point that we have to consider, which is that as far as we know… several of these young women are speaking to each other. And so there is a degree of coordination between them about how they are interacting with people like us, who are reporters trying to figure out what happened. And it’s going to be curious to see if these girls are coordinating what they’re going to be telling investigators with the federal government, but also… who it is that is paying for their representation… I’m hinting at a lot here, but I think that’s going to point out how this is going to shake out in the next few months.”Elsewhere on this episode, Suebsaeng and Sommer dive into how the Trumpian obsession with ballot “audits” is spreading nationwide, capturing local constituencies and state Republican parties, and even infecting a town in New Hampshire where Republicans had already won. And—naturally!—our odyssey into this ballooning anti-democratic hellscape somehow quickly escalates to a treasure hunter boasting to Will that he’s a “geek” who’s trapped in a “biker’s body.”Listen, and subscribe, to Fever Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.