Joel Greenberg’s attorney has promised ‘must-see television’ when asked about a possible connection to Representative Matt Gaetz.
Fritz Scheller made the comments after Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including sex-trafficking a minor, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors on Monday.
Scheller deflected several questions about Gaetz’s involvement, telling reporters ‘I’m not going to answer that… I’m still not going to answer that’.
Pushed for answers on whether elected officials, such as Gaetz, would be impacted by the plea deal, Scheller said: ‘This is must see television. You’ll have to wait and see’.
Joel Greenberg’s attorney has promised ‘must-see television’ when asked about a possible connection to Representative Matt Gaetz (pictured)
Fritz Scheller made the comments after Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including sex-trafficking a minor, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors on Monday
Joel Greenberg (left), a former tax collector in Florida’s Seminole County, is central to the federal probe into whether Representative Matt Gaetz (right) trafficked a minor for sex
Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida’s Seminole County, is central to the federal probe into whether Representative Gaetz trafficked a minor for sex.
On Friday, federal prosecutors had dropped 27 charges against Greenberg in exchange for his cooperation and testimony.
He had been facing 33 counts with a maximum of life behind bars but he has reached a deal to plead guilty to just six of those charges; sex trafficking a child, using a fake ID, identity theft, wire fraud, stalking and conspiring to commit a crime against the US.
The most severe charge he will plead to is paying a 17-year-old girl for sex, trafficking her across state lines and giving her drugs with other men – which is what might implicate Gaetz.
The sex trafficking charge has a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Greenberg also said he would cooperate with the ongoing investigation into Gaetz, and testify at court if necessary. He admitted to introducing the minor he trafficked to other adult men who engaged in sex acts with the minor in his presence, court papers showed.
The papers did not identify the other adult men. Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. He was not mentioned in the plea agreement or during the court hearing.
But Greenberg, who is married, is thought to be ready to accuse Gaetz of paying at least 15 young women for sex including prostitute Megan Zalonka after a cocaine-fueled party at a Trump fundraiser.
Geenberg said he would cooperate with federal prosecutors and admitted to introducing the minor he trafficked to other adult men who engaged in sex acts with the minor in his presence at a hearing on Monday
Megan Zalonka (right) is pictured with Gaetz, who is said to have snorted cocaine and had sex with her
Roger Stone, Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg pictured in a selfie together in 2017
Gaetz and Greenberg pictured together at the White House. To reduce charges from 33 to 6 indicates Greenberg has valuable information for prosecutors, say legal experts
Greenberg’s attorneys filed this document on Thursday signalling he would change his plea to guilty
Appearing in court wearing a blue prison jumpsuit with the words ‘Orange County Corrections,’ Greenberg was shackled and returned to jail following the hearing.
Prosecutors said the entirety of the plea deal was published on Monday and that no portion of it remained under seal and out of the public eye
They added depending on how much he assists them going forward, they’ll recommend various levels of leniency when it comes to Greenberg’s sentencing.
Greenberg also has to forfeit $650,000. He was arrested last year and immediately started telling the feds about Gaetz and how they ‘sex trafficked’ together to get himself a deal.
Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, suggested after a court hearing last month that his client would implicate Gaetz, telling reporters: ‘I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.’
Scheller was more measured on Monday when asked if Gaetz should be worried about Greenberg cooperating with investigators.
‘Last time we talked I had a certain agenda, which I accomplished,’ Scheller said. ‘This time I will leave that up to Matt Gaetz’s attorneys to answer.’
Scheller added that his client would ‘honor’ his plea agreement, which promised full cooperation with investigators.
Scheller said a sentencing hearing probably will be set for sometime this summer and said of Greenberg: ‘He’s feeling a sense of remorse’ over his actions.
Joel Greenberg and his wife Abby and their two children. As part of his plea agreement, Greenberg admitted that he recruited women for commercial sex acts and paid them more than $70,000 from 2016 to 2018, including at least one underage girl he paid to have sex with him and others
An Orange County Corrections transport vehicle leaves the federal courthouse before a hearing for Joel Greenberg on Monday
A banner reading ‘Tick Tock Matt Gaetz’ is flown above the federal courthouse during a hearing for Joel Greenberg on Monday
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) walks with his fiancee Ginger Luckey in January. Investigators are seeking to determine whether Gaetz had sex with the same 17-year-old Greenberg was accused of trafficking
The plea deal marks a turning point in the sprawling federal investigation that has roiled Florida politics and ensnared Gaetz, 39, one of former President Donald Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress.
Investigators want to determine whether Gaetz had sex with the same 17-year-old Greenberg was accused of trafficking, according to news reports and a law enforcement source who spoke with Reuters.
Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
At a gathering of Republican Party activists last weekend in Ohio, Gaetz addressed the crowd and, according to an NBC News report, said, ‘I’m being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors.’
Gaetz, 38, and his fiancée Ginger Luckey, 26, in a photo shared on Twitter by Gaetz on December 10 under a photograph of Ronald Reagan
Gaetz with Trump. Greenberg is said to be cooperating with federal investigators for months amid the probe into the congressman
Gaetz, according to NBC, then criticized Congress for reinstituting the use of special-interest spending known as earmarks, saying it is ‘a process that legalizes the corrupt act of exchanging money for favors… and everybody knows that’s a corruption.’
When news of Greenberg’s impending guilty plea broke on Thursday, Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill questioned Greenberg’s credibility.
‘The first indictment of Joel Greenberg alleges that he falsely accused another man of sex with a minor for his own gain. That man was apparently innocent. So is congressman Gaetz,’ said Hill.
Greenberg also pleaded guilty to having letters sent to a school where a political rival worked that falsely accused the man of sexual misconduct with a student, according to federal prosecutors.
Sources close to the DOJ probe told DailyMail.com last month that Gaetz was expected to be indicted as soon as a matter of weeks after the 17-year-old testified before a Florida grand jury saying she had sex with him before she reached the state’s age of consent, which is 18.
Greenberg allegedly confessed in a letter to Donald Trump ally Roger Stone that the pair paid for sex with the 17-year-old girl in a bid to get a pardon from the then-President, the Daily Beast reported.
Gaetz went on Tucker Carlson to deny the sex trafficking claims but it was a fumbled interview that Carlson later described as the ‘weirdest ever’
Gaetz’s wider actions in congress have also come under close scrutiny in recent weeks, with claims he showed off nude photos of women he said he had slept with to other lawmakers on the House floor
‘On more than one occasion, [the 17-year-old] was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,’ Greenberg reportedly wrote in the letter.
One message said to have been sent by Greenberg to Stone allegedly said he was pressured to ‘flip’ and cooperate with prosecutors.
Gaetz’s wider actions in congress have also come under close scrutiny in recent weeks, with claims he showed off nude photos of women he said he had slept with to other lawmakers on the House floor and that he played a sleazy Harry Potter themed sex game scoring points for sleeping with married colleagues, virgins and in sorority houses.
It has also been claimed that he regularly attended gated community house parties with other Republican lawmakers where cellphones were handed over at the door and the ‘frat party boy’ Florida representative would discuss politics while popping pills.
Meanwhile, as well as the federal investigation, the House Ethics Committee has also launched an inquiry into a string of allegations including ‘sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct.’
Gaetz denies all allegations and has insisted he will not resign.