Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector in the Central Florida area and an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) who the Congressman once described as his “wingman,” is pleading guilty to crimes including child sex trafficking, according to new court filings. As part of his plea arrangement, Greenberg is agreeing to cooperate with federal investigators, meaning that he’s set to provide information that could be relevant to investigations of other individuals — potentially including Gaetz.
BREAKING: Matt Gaetz's confidant, Joel Greenberg, admits to many crimes in plea(+80 pgs). He doesn't name Gaetz. Greenberg says he and "other adult men" engaged in "commercial sex acts" w/minor. Greenberg says he witnessed the other men having sex w/minor. https://t.co/qzPBYLEopm
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) May 14, 2021
The Trump-allied Congressman from Florida has been under federal criminal investigation for, among other issues, potentially victimizing the same then-minor who was trafficked by Greenberg. Besides admitting to himself engaging in sex acts with the then-minor victim in question, Greenberg also said in his plea that he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts” with them. Greenberg did not name the other referenced “adult men” in his court filing, but based on other information, it seems safe to assume that Matt Gaetz may have been involved — and, if that’s the case, Gaetz could soon face criminal proceedings.
As summarized by The New York Times, “Prosecutors revealed in the documents that they have evidence they say corroborates Mr. Greenberg’s admissions — including a series of communications and transactions Mr. Greenberg had with the girl, and a list of dates of their sexual encounters.” This evidence could bolster federal proceedings against others who Greenberg may implicate (or possibly already implicated). Notably, Greenberg could face perjury charges if he’s caught lying to investigators in the course of his cooperation, which elevates the credibility of information that authorities may obtain.
POLITICO has reported based on revelations from a source that the then-minor who was victimized by Greenberg — and possibly Gaetz — has been “100 percent” speaking with federal investigators about the Congressman, although the exact information that she may have provided was not immediately clear. Her potential testimony could further bolster any potential case against Gaetz.
The Times reported that Greenberg “has told investigators that Mr. Gaetz had sex with the girl and knew that she was being paid, according to a person briefed on the inquiry.” Greenberg has claimed that he was unaware of the victim’s age at the time of the admitted trafficking, but that claimed lack of awareness does not absolve him or any similar perpetrator of criminal liability under federal law. As summarized by POLITICO, federal law “allows defendants to be charged and convicted even if they did not know that the victim was underage, as long as they had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person.”