Politics

Matt Gaetz Buddy Joel Greenberg Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Feds


Joel Greenberg, a close associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), pleaded guilty to a slew of federal crimes on Friday, including sex trafficking of a child. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in ongoing investigations that could very well ensnare Gaetz.

Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector, faced an 86-page, 33-count indictment. Under the agreement, Greenberg will plead guilty to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of a child, producing false identification, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking and conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.

The sex trafficking charge alone carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000; four of the other five charges carry maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years.

Notably, Greenberg also agreed to testify that he introduced a child “to other men, who engaged in commercial sex acts with the Minor in the Middle District of Florida,” according to the plea agreement.

A number of reports suggest Gaetz may be one of those “other men.”

The Daily Beast obtained copies of Greenberg’s payments on Venmo, a cash transfer app he used to allegedly pay dozens of young women for sex.

Among them are several transfers from Gaetz to Greenberg, including one $300 payment Gaetz made on Nov. 1, 2018, along with the “love hotel” emoji.

Gaetz also sent his friend $900 in two separate transactions in May of that year, instructing Greenberg to “hit up [the unidentified woman].” The next day, Greenberg transferred what amounted to $900 to three young women. 

The payments corroborate some of the women’s accounts to CNN describing house parties Gaetz and other high-profile men attended in suburban Orlando, where cocaine, ecstasy and sex were all on offer.

Gaetz has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing. He previously defended the payments as evidence of his generosity toward ex-girlfriends. 

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