Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report
Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector indicted in the Justice Department’s investigation into possible sex crimes that also includes Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), is reportedly cooperating with federal authorities.
Greenberg has told investigators that he and Gaetz had encounters with multiple women who were given monetary payments or gifts in exchange for sex, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The New York Times.
The sources told the Times that Greenberg has already met with investigators several times, ultimately deciding to cooperate after he was made aware of the overwhelming amount of evidence against him.
Greenberg, who was first indicted in June, faces dozens of counts including sex trafficking of a minor and corruption.
The former Florida county official has gained notoriety in recent weeks following reports that revealed federal investigators were also looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, as well as if he was involved in potential violations of sex trafficking laws and payments in exchange for sex to women recruited online.
The Times report comes after multiple news outlets reported last week that Greenberg’s attorneys said in court that their client was expected to strike a plea deal with federal investigators.
Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations, as well as a Sunday CNN report that said aides to former President Trump had turned down a meeting request from the congressman after news broke that he was under federal investigation.
When asked about the allegations Tuesday, Gaetz lashed out at CNN reporter Manu Raju, claiming the network was conducting a campaign “to propagandize lies against me.”
“I wrote an essay on that in the Washington Examiner. You guys should check it out,” Gaetz said as he descended the steps of the Capitol, referring to an opinion piece last week in which he wrote that “the swamp is out to drown me with false charges.”
Gaetz spokesperson Harlan Hill said in a statement to The Hill in response to Tuesday’s Times report, “Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex,” adding that Greenberg “has been trying to ensnare innocent people in his troubles for quite some time.”
Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, and a spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment when contacted by The Hill.
Gaetz has faced increasing calls to resign over the allegations, as well as other accusations that have since surfaced, though he has repeatedly vowed not to step down.
The House Ethics Committee last week officially opened an investigation into Gaetz over allegations of illegal drug use and sharing nude photos of young women with his colleagues on the House floor.
While Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, he brought on two leading New York defense attorneys last week to serve as his representation in the Justice Department probe.
Mike Lillis contributed.
Updated: April 14 at 2:24 p.m.
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