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The tangled tale of the Israel consulate, the Dilbert cartoonist and the Matt Gaetz case

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MIAMI — Of the many only-in-Florida aspects of the Rep. Matt Gaetz sex-crimes investigation, one stands out for its utter weirdness: the story of the Israeli consulate staffer, the cartoonist who created Dilbert and a complicated shakedown scheme tied to a former CIA operative captured in Iran.

The most-salacious aspects of the federal probe into Gaetz have received saturation media coverage over the months. But scant attention has been paid to the mysterious cameo of Jake Novak, the broadcast media director of the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Three days before the story broke in March that federal investigators were probing whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl, Novak began corresponding with Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams about the scandal. The two were pals on social media. Novak indicated to Adams he had inside knowledge of the probe and also suggested he was personally involved in an effort to get $25 million out of Gaetz’s wealthy father to help free an American hostage in Iran named Bob Levinson.

Novak never said he thought the alleged plan to free the hostage was a crime, according to copies of the text messages that were previously reported and whose authenticity were confirmed to POLITICO by Adams.

But on Aug. 31, a federal grand jury indicted a suspect for allegedly trying to defraud Gaetz’s father. The scheme involved a Florida developer, Stephen Alford, who claimed that, in return for financing the hostage rescue, he and another man would use their influence in the federal government to ensure the congressman “receives a presidential pardon, thus alleviating all his legal issues,” the indictment said.

The Consulate General of Israel in New York, where Novak works, declined to comment. Novak, a former CNBC contributor, did not return calls and text messages for........

© Politico

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