- The Washington Times - Friday, May 14, 2021

The walls could be closing in on Rep. Matt Gaetz, the far-right firebrand from Florida.

The former Florida tax collector at the heart of a criminal investigation that has fed into a sex trafficiking probe of Mr. Gaetz has agreed to plead guilty to six of the 33 federal charges against him as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors.

Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County Tax Collector, has agreed to plead guilty to sex trafficking of a child, producing a Fake ID, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

Mr. Greenberg is expected to plead guilty in Orlando on Monday to paying a minor under the age of 18 to engage in sex acts with him and others, and providing her with drugs.

“Greenberg also introduced the Minor to other adult men, who enagged in commercial sex acts with the Minor in the Middle District of Florida,” according to court documents that outline the evidence — including phone calls and Venmo transactions — behind the charges.

Mr. Gaetz’s name is not included in the court filing.

Under the plea agreement, Mr. Greenberg must register as a sex offender and “cooperate fully with the United States in the investigation and prosecution of other persons” related to the probe.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Mr. Greenberg introduced women to Mr. Gaetz for paid sex and whether Mr. Gaetz had sex with the then-17-year-old girl in 2017.

Mr. Gaetz, who won a third term in Florida’s 1st Congressional District last year, has denied he had sex with a minor and has not been charged with a crime.

Mr. Greenberg was viewed as a crucial part of the investigation of Mr. Gaetz, and his plea agreement immediately turned attention to the Republican.

Mr. Gaetz is well-known for being a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump.

“Donald J. Trump is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party,” he said on Twitter this week.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide