Matt Gaetz is back in the news, a now-frequent occurrence which, despite the all-press-is-good-press ethos around which he built his political career, hasn’t exactly been a boon to the Florida congressman’s brand over the past month or so.
The Daily Beast reported Thursday night that it obtained a letter in which Joel Greenberg, Gaetz’s now notorious running buddy, admitted that he and the embattled congressman paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. The letter was sent to former Trump adviser Roger Stone as part of an attempt to get him to lobby the then-president for a pardon. Stone confirmed to The Daily Beast that Greenberg had indeed sought his help in securing a pardon, and that he asked Greenberg to provide him with “a document explaining his prosecution.”
Greenberg has been charged with a mind-boggling array of crimes, leading to his resignation last summer as Seminole County, Florida’s tax collector. The 33 charges against Greenberg include stalking, identity theft, embezzling taxpayer money, and sex-trafficking a 17-year-old girl. The New York Times reported last month that federal authorities are currently investigating whether Gaetz sex-trafficked the very same minor.
The letter from Greenberg to Stone is essentially an admission of guilt. “On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the 17-year-old, according to The Daily Beast, which also obtained text messages from Greenberg to Stone. “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.”
In drafts of the letter, Greenberg wrote that both he and Gaetz believed the girl was 19, and that Gaetz was “equally shocked and disturbed” to discover she was underage. Greenberg writes that he confronted the girl after learning of her real age. “She apologized and recognized that by lying about her age, she endangered many people,” he wrote. “There was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday.”
This doesn’t bode well for Gaetz, who has spent the past month vehemently denying he was involved sexually with anyone underage. “I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false,” he told Tucker Carlson on Fox News the night the Times published its initial report on the investigation. “That is false and records will bear that out to be false.”
It’s not false according to Greenberg, who as it so happens has been cooperating with federal investigators.
Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone regarding The Daily Beast’s story about Greenberg’s letters and text messages to Stone. Perhaps he plans to explain himself on the national tour he’s set to embark on with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the conspiracy theorist who remains the only member of Congress willing to defend Gaetz with any vigor.
“The radical left is coming for you,” Gaetz said in a radio ad promoting the tour. “They know I’m in the way.”