Court Battles

Former associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz sentenced to 11 years in prison

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor and other charges.

Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida’s Seminole County, had faced more than 20 years in prison.

But prosecutors requested a lighter sentence after his guilty plea, asking the judge for a range of nine years and three months to 11 years.

Greenberg on Thursday apologized to U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell in Orlando, Fla., according to The Associated Press.

“Nothing justifies my actions. My conduct is so shameful. I feel remorse for what I’ve done,” Greenberg said in court.

Greenberg pleaded guilty last year to six federal crimes, including identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

Prosecutors said Greenberg, a longtime associate of Gaetz, paid at least one minor to have sex with him and other men.

Greenberg has assisted in investigations into about two dozen other people, according to prosecutors, and the tax associate is linked to multiple Florida officials.

Gaetz is being investigated on allegations that he paid a 17-year-old for sex, charges the lawmaker denies.

In September, career lawyers recommended the Department of Justice (DOJ) not bring charges against Gaetz, citing the credibility of two witnesses.

Politico reported at the time the DOJ is likely not to bring charges against Gaetz, according to a person familiar with the probe who spoke with the outlet.

The DOJ opened its investigation into Gaetz in late 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tags Department of Justice Florida Joel Greenberg Joel Greenberg Matt Gaetz Matt Gaetz Orlando
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