Judge approves plea deal of Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg; sentencing set for August
A federal judge on Thursday accepted a guilty plea deal for Joel Greenberg, a former Florida county tax collector and associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), on six federal crimes including sex trafficking a minor.
Senior District Judge Gregory Presnell set a sentencing hearing for Greenberg for Aug. 19, according to court documents.
This comes less than a month after Greenberg pleaded guilty and entered into an agreement to cooperate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation of Gaetz.
As the Orlando Sentinel reports, Greenberg faces up to 12 years in prison, though prosecutors have indicated they will recommend a lesser sentence if Greenberg’s assistance in the DOJ’s investigation proves to be substantial. The newspaper notes that Greenberg has also pleaded guilty to identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.
Presnell’s orders require both sides to submit sentencing recommendations and evidence at least 10 days before the hearing.
As part of his plea deal, Greenberg admitted to recruiting women for sex acts, paying them more than $70,000. He also admitted to paying an underage girl to have with sex with him and other men while also offering her Ecstasy, which he himself would sometimes take.
It was reported in April that Greenberg had told investigators that both he and Gaetz had given multiple women gifts and money in exchange for sex.
The Florida congressman, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, is being investigated by the DOJ for allegedly violating federal laws by paying a minor to travel with him.
In a statement to The Hill last month following Greenberg’s guilty plea, a Gaetz spokesperson said, “Joel Greenberg has now confessed to falsely accusing an innocent man of having sex with a minor.”