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Friend of U.S. congressman Gaetz expected to plead guilty in Florida sex trafficking case

PoliticsApr 08, 2021 08:00PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Representative Matt Gaetz, (R-FL), speaks during a hearing in Washington

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A friend of embattled Republican U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida is expected to plead guilty in a sex trafficking and fraud case in a federal court in Florida, two law enforcement officials said on Thursday.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers are in discussions about Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida's Seminole County, entering a guilty plea, and a judge on Thursday gave him until May 15 to do so, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Greenberg is a friend of staunch Donald Trump supporter Gaetz, who also faces a federal probe into a relationship with an underage girl, a law enforcement source has said.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has denied wrongdoing. A Gaetz representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

At a court hearing in Orlando, Greenberg's attorneys and prosecutors said they expected a plea deal to resolve charges including sex trafficking of a child, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, according to local media.

Asked by reporters whether Gaetz should be worried about a Greenberg plea, Greenberg's attorney Fritz Scheller replied, "I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today."

Scheller may have been referring to media reports that Greenberg may cooperate with federal investigators in their probe of Gaetz.

"This is devastating news for Matt Gaetz," State Attorney for Palm Beach County in Florida Dave Aronberg said in an interview with CNN.

Aronberg, who is not involved in the investigation, said Greenberg had every incentive to cooperate in the Gaetz probe "because he is facing a potential life sentence and at least a 10-year mandatory minimum for child sex trafficking related to the same 17-year-old girl in the Matt Gaetz investigation."

In a column published on Monday on the Washington Examiner website, Gaetz declared he had no plans to resign from Congress.

"There are exactly zero credible (or even non-credible) accusers willing to come forward by name and state on the public record that I behaved improperly toward them," Gaetz wrote.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, last month said he would not strip Gaetz of his committee assignments absent proof that he has engaged in wrongdoing.

Friend of U.S. congressman Gaetz expected to plead guilty in Florida sex trafficking case
 

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Comments (10)
Pat Mathieu
Pat Mathieu Apr 09, 2021 4:19AM ET
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Matt Gaetz is a top 10 GOP leader with Ted Cruz, Kristi Noem, Candace Owen. Mass nedias hate them.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 09, 2021 4:19AM ET
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top 10, is there a ranking of people based on how much they worship the Orange Messiah?
William Smith
William Smith Apr 09, 2021 1:02AM ET
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So, I had a friend who got charged with spouse abuse. What the ******does that have to do with me?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 09, 2021 1:02AM ET
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if that's the case then Gaetz has nothing to worry about.....doesn't seem like Gaetz is not worrying, based on his reactions, does it?
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 09, 2021 1:02AM ET
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William, if you had read the article (and others about this topic) rather than only reading the headline, you wouldn't have to ask this question. The friend that has been charged will very likely now cooperate with law enforcement to help with the investigation of Gaetz.
Tony Coll
Tony Coll Apr 09, 2021 12:58AM ET
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Draining the swamp meant both sides of the aisle. This is not a partisan issue. Reps and dems all the same, just paid to appear to disagree/argue.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 09, 2021 12:38AM ET
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Still waiting for any evidence....
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 08, 2021 11:22PM ET
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If anyone thinks Democrats are immune to debachery think again. Just one example...google “Weinstein political support”.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 11:22PM ET
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Weinstein is a despicable human being, but he wasn't a congressman
Malcolm Gibson
Malcolm Gibson Apr 08, 2021 10:23PM ET
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Mark Hosenbal, I hope u have a good attorney.
Daniel Hodel
Daniel Hodel Apr 08, 2021 10:23PM ET
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It’s amazing that people are shocked that a Trumper is a pedo. Melania got away thanks to Stormy.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 10:23PM ET
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Melania got away  -- did she really though?
Jeremy Sklenar
Jeremy Sklenar Apr 08, 2021 9:14PM ET
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simply look at how he behaves and how he kisses Donnies *******. No chance he's innocent..
John Hat
John Hat Apr 08, 2021 8:59PM ET
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Democrats like to h.an.g first, ask questions later.
Me comment
Me comment Apr 08, 2021 8:59PM ET
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More like the repos and their voter fraud claims without any proof.
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 08, 2021 8:59PM ET
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Always so quick to cry and blame "the Democrats" whenever a Republican is accused of something bad.  In case you didn't realize, John, it's not "the Democrats" who are "hanging" Gaetz or his friend. It's law enforcement doing an investigation of him, and a federal court trying his friend.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 8:59PM ET
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Adrian White  it's not "the Democrats" who are "hanging" Gaetz or his friend.  -- after Gaetz tried to pull Tucker Carlson into the mess, now FoxNews is turning on him as well
Jerry Gregor
Jerry Gregor Apr 08, 2021 8:54PM ET
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Gaetz is as guilty as sin. He is an arrogant pompous bully and buff**n.
Me comment
Me comment Apr 08, 2021 8:54PM ET
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So is/was trump and he got away with it.
 
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