The associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz who first told police he had sexually trafficked a 17-year-old girl is expected to plead guilty to federal charges in an indication that he may have reached a deal with prosecutors to turn on his old friend in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Joel Greenberg, a former politician and friend of Republican Rep. Gaetz, is facing a string of charges that included embezzling, stalking an opponent and sex trafficking a girl between the ages of 14 and 17.
He was first arrested last year. He is who told police that Gaetz had sexually trafficked a 17-year-old girl, according to anonymous Washington Post source.
Gaetz has not been charged and he denies ever paying for sex, claiming instead that he is the victim of an extortion plot.
In April, The Post cited unnamed sources who said Greenberg had been begging prosecutors to cut him a deal in exchange for information he gave them about Gaetz.
He is said to have told them prosecutors how they paid women for sex with ‘cash or gifts’ in what the source said might violate sex trafficking laws. It’s unclear how old the women he was talking about were.
On Thursday, court documents revealed that Greenberg – who had denied all of the charges – intended to change his plea, which suggests they might have reached a deal. It’s unclear what charges he will plead guilty to.
He will appear in court in Florida on Monday May 17 to plead guilty to some of the charges.
Neither the US Attorney nor Greenberg’s attorney has commented.
Joel Greenberg has been giving prosecutors information on Matt Gaetz and the alleged sex trafficking for months. Now, it looks as though he might have reached a deal with prosecutors
Greenberg’s attorneys filed this on Thursday which shows he will change his plea on Monday
Greenberg was arrested last year on charges of stalking a political opponent. An indictment alleged he mailed fake letters to his opponent’s school claiming sexual misconduct.
He was subsequently charged with sex trafficking a girl between the ages of 14 and 17.
Last month he was further charged with embezzling $400,000 from the Seminole County tax collector’s office, where he worked.
It then emerged that he was negotiating a deal.
‘I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,’ said Fritz Scheller, Greenberg’s lawyer, said last month.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws by having sex with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her to travel across state lines — claims that Gaetz denies and asserts are part of a scheme to extort his family for $25 million.
The Republican congressman and close ally of Donald Trump fired out a series of tweets Tuesday claiming a former Justice Department employee had been trying to extort $25 million from him and his family while ‘threatening to smear my name’
Gaetz went on Tucker Carlson to deny the sex trafficking claims but it was a fumbled interview that Carlson later described as the ‘weirdest ever’
He shrugged off the allegations during a recent speech.
‘I’m a marked man in Congress, I’m a cancelled man in some corners of the internet, I might be a wanted man by the deep state,’ he said at a rally in The Villages, a retirement community and pro-Trump stronghold.
The saga exploded in March when The New York Times reported that Gaetz was being investigated for sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl across state lines.
Gaetz responded, denying all of the allegations, and claiming a Justice Department official – David McGee – was trying to extort him over it. McGee angrily denied his claim.
Gaetz’s father backed him up and said that they’d taken the extortion plot to the FBI.
‘The FBI asked me to try and get that information for Matt and an indication we would transfer money to Mr. David McGee,’ his father said.
McGee, an attorney at Beggs & Lane law firm and the former lead attorney for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Task Force, said: ‘It is completely false. It’s a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking of minors.
‘I have no connection with that case at all, other than, one of a thousand people who have heard the rumors.’
Gaetz, 38, and his fiancée Ginger Luckey, 26, in a photo shared on Twitter by Gaetz on December 10 under a photograph of Ronald Reagan