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Tag: matt gaetz investigation

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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Under Trafficking Probe, Gaetz Likens FBI To ‘Worst Days Of Soviet Union’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) compared efforts by the FBI to combat violent extremism to actions taken by the former Soviet Union, which he called a "repressive security state."

Gaetz appeared on the conservative Newsmax TV's Cortes & Pellegrino to discuss a recent tweet that was released by the FBI.

In the July 11 tweet, the FBI wrote, "family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence" and gives advice on signs to look out for to "prevent homegrown violent extremism."

Gaetz criticized the tone of the tweet.

"This harkens to a darker day," said Gaetz. "Back during the worst days of the Soviet Union, 1 out of every 3 of the folks in that country was providing some sort of information to a centralized governing authority and so snitching really is a tool of the repressive security state."

Gaetz also claimed later in the interview that the tweet wasn't "really a sincere attempt to engage in law enforcement" and "is an attempt to identify people based on their politics."

Despite Gaetz's allegations, neither the FBI's tweet nor the document the tweet links to suggests reporting people over their political beliefs.

The agency is currently in the midst of a massive investigation of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, when several violent extremists supporting former President Donald Trump breached the building in an attempt to overturn Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential election. Over 500 people have been arrested and charged with federal offenses.

In recent months, Gaetz has repeatedly attacked the FBI. Along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), he has even pushed a baseless claim that the agency organized the Capitol attack. He has also suggested that the FBI was to blame for the COVID-19 viral outbreak.

Gaetz's attack on the FBI comes at the same time that he has been under federal investigation relating to the possible sex trafficking of an underage girl.

Gaetz has not been alone in attacking the FBI for investigating violent extremism. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TX) recently described the tweet in question from the FBI as "over the top."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.