According to a new ABC report, Joel Greenberg, the former county official in Central Florida who Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has previously described as his “wingman,” has been providing substantial amounts of materials to federal investigators that could implicate the Congressman (and others) in criminal activity. Greenberg has already pleaded guilty to an array of criminal offenses, including child sex trafficking, and Gaetz has been under criminal investigation for his own potential involvement in related acts. According to ABC, Greenberg “has provided investigators with years of Venmo and Cash App transactions and thousands of photos and videos, as well as access to personal social media accounts.”
Besides the victimization of a then-minor, Greenberg and Gaetz were also apparently more broadly involved in paying women for sex. ABC News viewed a text conversation including Greenberg and one of these women from September 2018, and in this conversation, Greenberg directly references that his “friend” Matt Gaetz would be at a get-together that he was setting up. Greenberg also directly referenced during the conversation that the woman with whom he was speaking was set to receive an “allowance” — meaning payment. Specifically, Greenberg said at one point that he had “a friend flying in,” and he subsequently sent an image of Gaetz, captioning it: “My friend.” At another point, when discussing a website that Greenberg had used to meet the woman, Greenberg said that Gaetz “knows the deal.”
Gaetz has denied the allegations against him, and previously, he has even claimed that the allegations originate in what he has characterized as an extortion plot. Gaetz’s characterization of events seems, unsurprisingly, incorrect — the Congressman’s father, Don Gaetz, was at one point presented with a proposal to provide financial support for an effort to locate former FBI agent Robert Levinson in exchange for assistance with Matt’s legal problems, but former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent, who was one of those tied to the proposal, insisted to CNN that there “were no threats.” The proposal to provide financial support in exchange for help with Matt’s legal troubles remains distinct from those legal issues.
Greenberg’s sentencing was recently delayed so that he could continue his cooperation with prosecutors. During these proceedings, Gaetz has, troublingly, retained his seat on the House Judiciary Committee, which provides him with a role in Congressional oversight of the Justice Department authorities responsible for the investigation into him and others.