Matt Gaetz Gets Seemingly Awful News In Sex Trafficking Probe

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Federal Judge Gregory A. Presnell has granted a request from former Central Florida county official Joel Greenberg to file a motion to schedule his sentencing hearing under seal, meaning contents won’t be available to the public.

Greenberg is an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Greenberg pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor — the same then-minor whose potential involvement with Gaetz has been under federal investigation. Greenberg’s request, supported by prosecutors, to file his motion regarding his sentencing date under seal mentions: “If this Court sets a hearing on the motion, the proceeding will convey specific information to the Court concerning Mr. Greenberg’s cooperation against multiple individuals.” The referenced motion is Greenberg’s then-forthcoming motion to schedule his sentencing. It’s clear Greenberg’s previously outlined cooperation with prosecutors in related probes has been continuing, and the open-ended nature of the reference to “multiple individuals” suggests Gaetz could be implicated in info from Greenberg, who’s facing a combined minimum of 12 years on identity theft and sex trafficking charges alone.

The publicly available request to file the sentencing-related motion under seal doesn’t specify any investigations in which Greenberg has been cooperating, but CNN did. “CNN has reported that Greenberg has told the Justice Department about encounters he and Gaetz had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex,” the outlet reported in May. Greenberg’s filing does note that investigations in which Greenberg has been cooperating are the work of authorities at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida and the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in addition to other offices.

Besides the sex trafficking probe, Greenberg’s cooperation seems to have been likely relevant to a case against two associates of his accused of involvement in a scheme to commit real estate fraud. The motion to set Greenberg’s sentencing date was also itself set to include “confidential information concerning these investigations, as well as information regarding the nature and extent of Mr. Greenberg’s ongoing cooperation,” per Greenberg’s filing, referencing probes in which he has been cooperating. Gaetz, meanwhile, has consistently maintained his innocence, although he also seems concerned about the potential reach of the ongoing federal criminal investigation in which he’s been implicated to the point that federal agents seized his cellphone: according to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Gaetz was interested after the last presidential election — but before January 6 — in obtaining a wide-ranging presidential pardon from Trump.

Other former officials, including former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and ex-aide John McEntee, also attested to Gaetz’s push for a pardon. Asked if Gaetz was asking for a pardon, Herschmann said: “I believe so. The general tone was we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the president’s positions on these things. The pardon that he was discussing requesting was as broad as you can describe… from the beginning of time up until today for any and all things. Then he mentioned Nixon. And I said Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad.” One could imagine Gaetz might have hoped for a presidential pardon from Trump to cover any crimes of which he’s guilty in connection to the wide-ranging case against Greenberg. Gaetz himself once referred to Greenberg as his “wingman.”