Rep. Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (Photo: Gage Skidmore)​

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his aides are facing major blowback after the controversial lawmaker invited a constituent who is facing murder charges in the state of Michigan to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of a GOP-led House Judiciary Committee hearing.

According to a report from the Daily Beast's Sam Brodey, Gaetz claimed he was proud to select Corey Beekman, a U.S. Army National Guard combat veteran, to lead the pledge, telling his colleagues, "It is my pleasure and distinct honor to introduce," Beekman before praising his position on "the board of a local gun club."

However, what Gaetz was apparently unaware of is that Beekman has been accused of murdering a man in Michigan before he moved to Florida.

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As Brodey wrote, Beekman is accused of shooting and killing "33-year old Billy Buchanan inside a home in rural Mason County, Michigan, and was arrested by police after a lengthy standoff. He was later charged with murder, but his case still has not yet gone to trial, and he moved to Florida."

Beekman leading the pledge has relatives of Buchanan furious and Gaetz apologizing for not doing his due diligence.

According to the Beast, "For Buchanan’s family, the pain of losing Billy has been compounded by the failure of his case to be resolved in court—and it was compounded even further by seeing his alleged killer appear in full military dress as an honored guest on Capitol Hill."

Buchanan's mother stated, "It was like getting a dagger stuck in our heart again.”

"In a statement to The Daily Beast, Gaetz apologized to the Buchanan family and said his decision to invite Beekman 'caused some unintended consequences.' He acknowledged that he was unaware of the man’s history before inviting him to Congress. 'The family of Billy Buchanan brought the situation to my attention, and I’m glad they did,' he said," Brodey reported.

You can read more here.

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