Florida Republican Congressman Rep. Matt Gaetz’s friend Joel Greenberg negotiated a plea deal in the case the federal government filed against him. He is expected to enter his guilty plea on Monday, May 17, 2021, which could further implicate the House member.
The plea raises the suspicion that he could become a witness in the Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry into 38-year-old Gaetz’s possible involvement in similar “sugar daddy” relationships with underage girls.
On April 9, the 30-year-old Greenberg pleaded guilty to 33 charges against him by the prosecutors for the United States District Court Middle District of Florida Orlando Divison. However, under the new arrangement with the court, he will only be charged with six charges as follows:
- Count 1; Sex trafficking of a child 14 years old but not yet 18.
- Count 8; Production of a false identification document.
- Count 9: Aggravated identity theft.
- Count 14: Wire fraud.
- Count 24: Stalking.
- Count 26: Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.
In his pleadings, Greenberg states he introduced other adult males to minor females. While what or whom he has disclosed is not readily available, an investigation into Gaetz is underway.
On April 1, the AP reported the DOJ is investigating the Florida Representative for paying underage girls or offering them gifts in exchange for sex.
He claims the investigation is a conspiracy to defame him and his family. He asserts they are attempting to reframe his generosity to his girlfriends into something untoward — trying to criminalize his sexual conduct.
Despite the DOJ investigation, Gaetz remains an active member of the House Armed Services and Judiciary Committees. In April, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted his concerns over his GOP colleague serving on the department’s oversight committee investigating him.
At the time, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Gaetz would be removed if the allegations were true. This is the same GOP leader who successfully ousted Liz Cheney from her position within Congress for the “crime” of speaking her mind a few days ago.
Rep. Lieu reiterated his call for McCarthy to strip Gaetz of his judiciary committee assignments as the case against the Republican continues to build. Now that Greenberg has struck a deal with Florida prosecutors, the implication of wrongdoing on the House member’s part Lieu has restated his concerns about this “untenable conflict of interest.” On May 15, he posted the following tweet:
@GOPLeader: Why are you still supporting Rep Matt Gaetz to sit on the House Judiciary Committee?
The plea agreement between Greenburg and the Federal government does not name specifically name Gaetz, nor has he been charged with a crime.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Newsweek: Ted Lieu Presses Kevin McCarthy Over New Matt Gaetz Allegations; by Brendon Cole
New York Post: Matt Gaetz associate expected to plead guilty in federal case; by Tamar Lapin
CBS News: Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg signs guilty plea agreement; by Kathryn Watson and Michael Kaplan
The Hill: Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg expected to plead guilty next week; by Harper Neidig and Joseph Joi
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License