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Tag: joel greenberg

Federal Prosecutor Calls Gaetz Crony ‘A Prolific Criminal' Who 'Was Not Alone

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Matt Gaetz may not be talking, but his partner in crime certainly is. Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax commissioner, has been spilling the beans to the Justice Department (DOJ) following a guilty plea he took earlier this year.

During a brief hearing on Monday in Orlando, Florida, Greenberg was given a second delay in his sentencing after Roger Handberg, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge that "the evidence takes us places, and, frankly, it takes us places we did not anticipate."

In May Greenberg, who faced dozens of federal charges, pled guilty to six, including knowingly soliciting and paying for sex with a minor. Part of his plea deal requires him to give "substantial assistance" to investigators—which we're sure is making his sidekick Gaetz quake in his boots.

Greenberg was scheduled to be sentenced on November 18 for his crimes, but prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell to give them until March, in order to continue following up on Greenberg's information to investigators.

"Mr. Greenberg was a prolific criminal," Handberg said in open court, according to Politico.

"Mr. Greenberg was not alone. This is an unusual situation in the number of different investigations and lines of investigation we are pursuing," Handberg said, explaining that the extension was necessary "because of the need to follow up on some of these leads."Gaetz's involvement wasn't mentioned in court Monday, but investigators are exploring a 2017 case in which he allegedly paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl, Greenberg introduced him to. Gaetz has not yet been charged with any crimes and has denied having sex with any minors. He is, however, under investigation for obstruction of justice for phoning a witness during the ongoing probe into a sex crimes case, a law enforcement source confirmed to NBC News.

Politico reports that prosecutors have been looking at a trip to the Bahamas Gaetz took in 2018 to see if the congressman, along with Halsey Beshears, then a state legislator, and Jason Pirozzolo, a hand surgeon and GOP fundraiser for Gov. Ron DeSantis, violated the Mann Act, which outlaws people from crossing state lines to engage in prostitution. Also on the trip was the victim of sex trafficking, who may have been under 18 at the time. Smarmy as this all is, there's another very Jeffery Epstein-like tangle: another buddy of Greenberg's, Joe Ellicott, is being investigated for sex-trafficking a 17-year-old in 2017.

Greenberg faces a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison, but could be sentenced longer—all depends on how hard he'll turn against his supposed allies. He will also be required to pay at least $655,000 in restitution to his victims, including Seminole County taxpayers. "[Greenberg] is on a path of rehabilitation, and to a lesser extent, redemption," said Greenberg's defense attorney Fritz Scheller

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More Bad News For Gaetz As Crony’s Sentencing Is Postponed Again

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A well-known former federal prosecutor is weighing in on the latest news about ex-Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, who has pleaded guilty to seven felony counts including the sex trafficking of a minor.

Greenberg, a close friend of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who he once called his "wingman," has been awaiting sentencing. He was originally charged with 33 criminal counts, but in May entered into a plea agreement.

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Gaetz Falsely Claims He Is ‘Exonerated’ In Trafficking Case

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) seized on right-wing media reports on Wednesday to falsely suggest that he has been exonerated in a federal investigation into whether he engaged in sex trafficking of a minor. There is no indication that prosecutors have cleared him of anything.

Gaetz retweeted a One America News report titled "Rep. Matt Gaetz Exonerated, Fla. Developer Charged With Extortion." That story claimed, without any evidence, "Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has been exonerated and the Department of Justice's sex trafficking investigation has been shut down as the man who made the false allegations is now behind bars."

Gaetz also tweeted a Newsmax story about the indictment of a man in an alleged scheme to extort him with the comment "EXONERATED: Alford Indicted for Extortion Plot Against Matt Gaetz. 'It certainly shows that these claims about me were never true. They were used to try to bleed my family out of tens of millions of dollars.'"

But even the friendly Newsmax report he shared contradicts this claim: "The indictment does not clear Congressman Matt Gaetz, but it most certainly adds to his credibility. He told us there was an extortion scheme at play."

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida announced Tuesday that it has indicted Stephen Alford in a "scheme to defraud a victim out of $25 million" based on a dishonest claim that he "could deliver a Presidential Pardon for a family member of the victim."

The Justice Department did not respond to an inquiry for this story. But sources told the Washington Post that the referenced victim was Gaetz's father, former Florida state Sen. Don Gaetz, and that the pardon would have been for his son.

The Post reported that Alford and others involved in the alleged extortion scheme were unconnected to the ongoing sex-crimes investigation into Matt Gaetz; they merely knew about it before it was reported publicly.

On March 30, the New York Times first reported that Gaetz was facing a federal investigation into whether he had engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage girl and paid for her travel in a possible violation of sex trafficking laws.

A spokesperson for Gaetz did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story, but the Florida Republican has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, ABC News reported that Gaetz's former "wingman," former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, had provided federal investigators records of Venmo and Cash App transactions, photos, videos, and social media communications that could implicate Gaetz.

After pleading guilty in May to charges of sex trafficking of a child and five other federal offenses, none of which to date have named Gaetz, Greenberg said he would give "substantial assistance" to the Justice Department.

So far, House Republicans have stood by Gaetz and let him keep his committee posts — including on the House Judiciary Committee — during the investigation.

"Those are serious implications," Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News in March. "If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that was the case. But right now Matt Gaetz says it is not true, and we don't have any information. So let's get all the information."

The progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century posted audio on Monday of Gaetz at an August 27 New Hampshire campaign event in which he jokes about his response to a question from tourists about "weird sexual allegations" that he and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) have in common. Gaetz says he responded, "No, that was Jordan."

Jordan has been accused by former student wrestlers at the Ohio State University of ignoring sexual abuse by a team doctor during his tenure there as an assistant coach. Jordan has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Ex-Prosecutor Says Gaetz Indictment ‘Is Ready And He Will Face Charges’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A former New York State prosecutor say Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) will be prosecuted by federal authorities and insists the "indictment is ready."

Tristan Snell, who served as assistant attorney general for New York state and is now the founder and the managing partner of Main Street Law helped lead the prosecution against Trump University that resulted in a $25 million settlement.

Snell has been sharing what he says he knows, via Twitter, and on Wednesday laid out the "Gaetzgate" case as he sees it.

"What we know," Snell writes, is that the "indictment is coming in the next few weeks, either in August or just after."

"Also clear that the US Attorney's Office is taking very strong positions with Gaetz and his counsel and is ready to indict Gaetz and others," Snell claims.

"What's really going on is that the feds are applying a lot of pressure on Gaetz to flip and cooperate — if the feds are taking a strong position, it's to get cooperation," he adds. "But what would Gaetz be able to cooperate on?"

"Gaetz could cooperate on the existing case they have open in federal court in Orlando — adding to the testimony from Gaetz's buddy Joel Greenberg."

Greenberg is the former Florida tax collector who was indicted on 33 federal charges, including theft, sex trafficking of a minor, stalking, and multiple counts of fraud. As part of a plea deal in May Greenberg pleaded guilty to six counts, including sex trafficking.

Gaetz has called Greenberg his "wingman."

Meanwhile, Snell adds that "the issue with Gaetzgate is not a lack of evidence or lack of a case. It's that there's soooo much evidence – and the case has gotten way bigger."

Snell, who has appeared on CNN and other media outlets and last month penned a Washington Post op-ed on prosecuting Trump, says "the more interesting question" is "what else could Gaetz do? What other things could he cooperate on?"

"So to be clear, the issue with Gaetzgate is not *if* he will face charges. He will," Snell insists. "The questions are when and how. Does he cooperate now? Or does he plead not guilty for now? And what would cooperation look like? If they're having this discussion now, the indictment is ready."

Gaetz Crony Greenberg Asks To Delay Sentencing While He Aids Prosecutors

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg has asked a judge to delay his sentencing on six federal charges, citing his ongoing cooperation with authorities as part of a plea deal he struck in May. Greenberg's sentencing is currently slated for Aug. 19. But in a motion filed Tuesday, his attorney, Fritz Scheller, asked to delay the hearing for 90 days. Scheller said his client, a close associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has been cooperating with the government on an ongoing basis, having already participated in “a series of" interviews, known as proffers, with federal authorities. “Said cooperation, which could ...

Gaetz Probe Intensifies With Scrutiny Of ‘Central Florida Political Scene’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Amid the federal investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), prosecutors have also focused their attention on the Central Florida political scene. Since investigators gained the cooperation of Gaetz's ally, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, they have reportedly been able to accelerate their probe, according to ABC News.

In May, Greenberg entered a guilty plea on six out of 33 charges including stalking, sex trafficking, wire fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy to bribe a public official. As part of his plea deal, there is speculation he could provide prosecutors with evidence and testimony that could compromise the Florida lawmaker.

In addition to interviewing a number of women who met Gaetz through Greenberg, investigators have also issued a new round of subpoenas and target letters. The investigation has also led to a probe into the political scene; one that Gaetz and Greenberg are very familiar with.

Per ABC News:

"Another avenue investigators have been focusing on recently, according to sources, are contracts that Greenberg handed out through the tax office totaling more than $1.5 million, which an independent audit late last year described as "unnecessary" and "considered to be a waste of taxpayer dollars," according to documents in the forensic audit of the tax office obtained by ABC News through a public records request."

So what could come of Greenberg's testimony and the political probe? Greenberg's lawyer, Fritz Schiller, hinted at the possibility of his client's cooperation signaling trouble for other politicians.

"Does my client have information that could hurt an elected official?" Schiller said. "I guess this is must-see television. You'll just have to wait and see."

The publication also shed light on another clue that could suggest there is trouble ahead for Gaetz. Earlier that day, an aircraft flying a banner that read," "Tick Tock Matt Gaetz" was also seen flying above the Orlando, Florida, federal courthouse.

Gaetz Crony Greenberg Set For  August Sentencing After Plea Approval

ORLANDO, Fla. — Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector who recently pleaded guilty to six federal charges — including sex trafficking of a child — is now set to face sentencing August 19, records show. In a pair of orders filed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell also formally accepted Greenberg's guilty pleas, which he made after striking a plea agreement with prosecutors last month. The deal requires Greenberg to cooperate with authorities in the sprawling investigation, which has reportedly taken aim at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a former friend and ally. According ...

As Ex-Girlfriend Flips For Prosecutors, Gaetz Insists He’s Ignoring Scandal

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has tried to set up a smokescreen, insisting he's "not focused on scandal" as news breaks his ex-girlfriend has flipped and is now cooperating with federal authorities, just like his former "wingman," Joel Greenberg.

Gaetz, who is under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking and possible sex with a 17-year old girl, in a Friday interview tried to minimize the charges against his friend, Greenberg, by suggesting he is in jail for defamation. Greenberg was facing dozens of charges, but currently the list stands at just six felonies after he entered a plea deal on Monday. Legal experts expect he is handing federal prosecutors evidence against the Florida GOP Congressman.

Meanwhile, federal authorities investigating Gaetz "have secured the cooperation of the congressman's ex-girlfriend," CNN reports.

"The woman, a former Capitol Hill staffer, is seen as a critical witness, as she has been linked to Gaetz as far back as the summer of 2017, a period of time that has emerged as a key window of scrutiny for investigators. She can also help investigators understand the relevance of hundreds of transactions they have obtained records of, including those involving alleged payments for sex, the sources said." CNN adds, citing people familiar with the matter.

"I'm not too worried about Joel Greenberg," Gaetz told Newsmax [see video below]. "Joel Greenberg is literally sitting in jail right now because he originally accused someone who was innocent – of having had a relationship with a minor."

Gaetz is accused of having had a relationship with a minor.

"That wasn't true, it was just a false thing that Joel Greenberg had said, and that's landed him in quite a bit of trouble."

Greenberg is not in jail for defamation.

"But I'm not focused on scandal. I'm focused on socialism," Gaetz said in what appeared to be another road-tested soundbite. "That's why I'm here in Arizona with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene."

Hardly a state facing "socialism," Arizona narrowly broke for Joe Biden but it has a Republican governor and GOP majorities in both chambers of its state legislature.

"We're going to have about a thousand patriots behind us supporting the Arizona audit and our ongoing efforts for election integrity."

Watch: