Federal Investigation Involving Matt Gaetz For Sex Crimes In Florida Moves Forward

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Joel Greenberg, the former Central Florida official who’s an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), is continuing to provide information to federal investigators ahead of his sentencing on child sex trafficking and related charges. He could be expected to be providing details to authorities about Gaetz himself, who has been widely reported as a subject of a federal criminal investigation for issues including potential involvement in child sex trafficking. Gaetz has adamantly denied the allegations against him, chalking them up to some kind of political grandstanding — but now, Greenberg’s lawyer Fritz Scheller has requested a delay of his sentencing so that the Gaetz ally can continue his cooperation.

The requested delay would slate Greenberg’s sentencing for March 2022. Ahead of the motion, Greenberg had been set to be sentenced this November, which itself was a postponement of his sentencing, which was originally set for August. As with the more recently requested delay, that previous postponement was instituted in order to provide Greenberg with an opportunity to continue cooperating with investigators. Now, Scheller says that Greenberg’s cooperation “cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing.” Thus, he’s requesting more time.

As a filing from Scheller puts it, the “parties expect that Mr. Greenberg will participate in additional proffers, and a continuance would provide Mr. Greenberg with additional time to do so prior to his sentencing.” In legal contexts, proffers refer to presentations of information. Scheller said that prosecutors themselves are on board with delaying Greenberg’s sentencing. As summarized by the Orlando Sentinel, Greenberg “faces a mandatory minimum of 12 years in federal prison on sex trafficking, stalking, bribery and other offenses, but prosecutors have indicated they will recommend a lesser sentence if Greenberg provides substantial assistance.” Gaetz himself identified Greenberg as his “wingman” at one point.

Gaetz has been directly tied to Greenberg’s actions in publicly available information. In May 2018, Gaetz sent Greenberg $900 over Venmo, telling Greenberg in the caption for the payment to “hit up” a certain teenager. The next morning, Greenberg sent a total of $900 to three young women, including the teenager referenced in Gaetz’s message. In short, the records suggest that Greenberg was acting as an intermediary for Gaetz in a trafficking scheme.

Gaetz has previously claimed that the allegations against him were somehow connected to an extortion scheme targeting his family, but these claims haven’t held up. Former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent was one of those tied to the supposed extortion plot, which in reality apparently involved a proposal for the Congressman’s father to give money in support of an effort to locate and return ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson to the U.S., in exchange for help with Matt’s legal troubles. Kent insists that there were “no threats” and “no demands.”