According to classmates in law school, a Super Bowl party was being thrown by Matt Gaetz. Chips, one-dollar banknotes, and strippers were among the explicit requirements on his invitation.
His email invite read, “I may ask you to bring some incidentals (napkins, cups, chips, strippers, ext.). P.S – After entering all of your email addresses it is painfully obvious that I don’t know enough girls – so bring some.”
Gaetz, a 23-year-old William & Mary Law School student at the time, was residing in a spacious mansion near the Williamsburg campus. He promised his buddies “plenty of beer, liquor, and BBQ chicken,” as well as two televisions that would broadcast the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks.
He told everyone to bring “plenty of one dollar bills” for “various gambling endeavors” organized by another classmate.
Gaetz’s old law-school classmate, who shared the email with Insider, claimed the strippers line was “definitely a joke.”
But now that the three-term congressman is the focus of a federal sex-trafficking investigation, Gaetz’s old classmates, who attended a school full of lofty ideals, are looking at his character and earlier pranks in a different light.
Many of Gaetz’s old friends and acquaintances from the William & Mary Law School class of 2007 stated they were mortified by the GOP congressman’s controversies in interviews.
There are 14 of Gaetz’s former classmates to have come forward
To safeguard personal and professional ties, the majority of them talked on the condition of anonymity.
When shocking news arose, such as a news about Gaetz snorting cocaine with a hired escort or a revelation that the congressman showed his congressional colleagues nude images of women, these allegations have landed him in the middle of a congressional ethics probe, among others.
Nearly three dozen of Gaetz’s former classmates called for him to resign in January, before news of the sex-trafficking claims surfaced.
Out of 500 William & Mary Law School graduates, 34 of them signed a petition demanding Gaetz to resign were from Gaetz’s own class of 2007, which had around 200 persons in total (see letter at the end of this article.)
The alumni chastised Gaetz for voting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, for perpetuating the false narrative that antifa supporters, not pro-Trump activists, carried out the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and for mocking the coronavirus pandemic by wearing a gas mask on the House floor.
One old classmate was taken aback by Gaetz’s new sex-trafficking claims, and was startled that he would do anything to jeopardize his political future.
“Am I surprised he’s partying with people or doing that kind of stuff? No,” that person said.
However, because Gaetz “has a very high sense of self-preservation,” they found the charges that he had sex with a juvenile startling. “I’m surprised he wouldn’t check their references,” the individual continued.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz breached federal law by having a sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her to travel with him.
Gaetz has denied violating any laws. “I’m being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors, he told supporters last month.
Every William & Mary Law School student is aware of the school’s goal of preparing them to become “citizen lawyers.” It goes back to 1779, when Thomas Jefferson assisted in the founding of the law school.
“I guess he doesn’t remember that day of orientation,” that person said of Gaetz, referring to the congressman’s scandals as “embarrassing to the institution.”
Another former classmate brought up Gaetz’s comments on the 2020 presidential election’s legality.
“In doing that he’s undermining our system of government and the rule of law,” that person said. “In my view that’s not appropriate conduct for an attorney to be engaging in.” The person continued: “Obviously, it’s not great to have Matt be among our alumni. It’s not really the person you want to point to as a role model.”
The School doesn’t boast about him. For example, Gaetz is missing from the university’s list of ” incredible alumni,” which includes comedian Jon Stewart, actress Glenn Close, and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Whistleblowing Florida Scientist Rebekah Jones to Run Against Matt Gaetz https://t.co/ikDwJDy1V1 via @politicususa pic.twitter.com/d8tHOVWLC5
— Grandpa Snarky – #StandWithUkraine (@GrandpaSnarky) June 10, 2021
According to a former classmate, Gaetz’s law school notoriety — attention-seeking with a frat-boy attitude — is similar to how he comes across as a congressman, “except he’s more over-the-top now.”
Gaetz resided in a huge multi-bedroom house near school as a law student, which was more opulent than some of his friends’ small quarters.
Sources told Insider that he frequently had guests over to play cards or drink from a keg in the basement.
According to The Advocate, the law school’s publication, Gaetz donated “two kegs and a party at his home” for a fundraising auction to support students undertaking unpaid public-interest work during the summer.
Give it up, Two-kegs-and-a-party-at-my-house Gaetz.
— It’s the Quiet Ones (@Tyndallbaby) October 29, 2019
He invited several of his law school classmates to his family’s house in Seaside, Florida, which was featured in the 1998 film “The Truman Show,” starring Jim Carrey.
People close to Gaetz said that he has always been highly proud of this fact and has frequently boasted about it. In the third line of his book, Gaetz even mentions his house’s Hollywood treatment. Carrey ridiculed Gaetz’s hair and shared an unfavorable image of the Republican lawmaker on Twitter in 2019. Gaetz retorted with a sarcastic retort.
This is so mean.
To Conway Twitty. https://t.co/oQAIePahbh
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 2, 2019
Gaetz progressed to the finals of a moot-court event in 2005, when he argued before a panel that included Jay Sekulow, one of President Trump’s top defense attorneys during his impeachment trial.
“There are a handful of students that stood out as being particularly intelligent, others as particularly aggressive — we call them ‘gunners,'” one former classmate said. They added that Gaetz “wasn’t either of those. He’s always been kind of a frat boy.”
Despite all of this, Gaetz still has supporters from his law-school days.
Someone bid on a date with Matt Gaetz at his house with two kegs? https://t.co/3vjD592bs8 pic.twitter.com/9Pxkn3ipcX
— z3dster (@z3dster) December 14, 2019
“I think he’s a great guy,” one former classmate.
Carolyn Fiddler, a former law school classmate, is now one of Gaetz’s most dependable detractors. She enjoys her status as his nemesis, as she posts several times a day.
ftr I now see myself as co-founder, every member has a stake in the Matt Haetz Society's leadership and directionhttps://t.co/E0NZImYq7U pic.twitter.com/xddMBIM1OX
— Fiddler (@cFidd) June 13, 2021
“I have never been shy about my attitude toward Matt Gaetz,” Fiddler stated. “Among my circle of friends, we do keep abreast of the latest Matt Gaetz developments and share them and commiserate together.” She’s now the communications director for Daily Kos.
… though I earnestly hope Don is in a safe place as Matty blasts to the world that his pa's been wearing a wire pic.twitter.com/nQxD47K7rk
— Fiddler (@cFidd) March 30, 2021
Gaetz and Fiddler were acquaintances in law school but not friends. She stated she attended to one of his parties where people were playing the drinking game “Edward Fortyhands.” Participants duct-tape 40-ounce bottles of alcohol to their hands as part of the game.
But, according to Fiddler, if Gaetz hadn’t been engaged in politics and begun presenting “controversial and right-wing legislation” as a Florida legislator, she wouldn’t recall anything about him from law school.
“He was just another dude that I didn’t want to hang out with in law school,” she stated.