Joel Greenberg, consummate Florida Man and now-infamous running buddy of Rep. Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty on Friday to 6 of the 33 federal charges he’s been slapped with since last summer. One of the charges to which he admitted in federal court is sex trafficking a minor, noting in the plea that he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.”
This probably isn’t great news for Gaetz considering Greenberg’s plea deal includes an agreement to cooperate with the Justice Department, which just so happens to be investigating Gaetz for sex trafficking the same minor.
Greenberg was initially arrested in June of 2020 on stalking charges, forcing his resignation from his post as Seminole County, Florida’s, tax collector. He’s since been charged with a dizzying array of crimes, from aggravated identity theft, to embezzling taxpayer money, to trying to bribe a Small Business Administration employee into helping him scam his way into pandemic relief money.
There’s also the charge for sex trafficking a minor, which led authorities to investigate Gaetz’s relationship with the same 17-year-old. Gaetz has vehemently denied having a sexual relationship with a minor, and Greenberg did not name his pal in Congress by name in pleading guilty. Since The New York Times broke the news of the investigation into Gaetz in March, however, a substantial amount of evidence has emerged indicating that Gaetz may indeed be one of the “other adult men” Greenberg hooked up with the 17-year-old.
Greenberg claimed as much in a letter and text messages sent to former Trump adviser Roger Stone, the Daily Beast reported late last month. “My lawyers that I fired, know the whole story about MG’s involvement,” Greenberg wrote in one text sent last December, “MG” referring to Gaetz. “They know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and I both had sex with the girl who was underage.”
If Greenberg tells federal authorities what he told Stone, and if said federal authorities feel they can corroborate his claim, Gaetz’s days in Congress — and potentially as a free man — could be numbered.
Gaetz’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on Greenberg’s guilty plea.