Matt Gaetz’s career in Congress, and life as a free man in America, has been in danger since it was revealed in March that the notably coiffed MAGA icon is under federal investigation for sex trafficking a minor. This danger became a little more acute a few months later when Joel Greenberg, Gaetz’s former running buddy who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same minor, agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. ABC News reported on Thursday that Greenberg’s cooperation has been … quite extensive.
The information Greenberg has provided to investigators reportedly includes “years of Venmo and Cash App transactions and thousands of photos and videos, as well as access to personal social media accounts.” Much of this potential evidence pertains to Greenberg’s relationship with Gaetz, and could aid investigators looking into the Florida congressman.
In pleading guilty to 6 of the 33 federal charges against him, including sex trafficking a 17-year-old, Greenberg noted that he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.” Greenberg did not specify whether one of those adult men was Gaetz, although reporting has indicated this could be the case. In April, The Daily Beast obtained a letter in which Greenberg claimed he and Gaetz both paid to have sex with a minor. The Daily Beast also obtained a slew of Venmo transactions between Greenberg and Gaetz and between Greenberg and the 17-year-old in question.
Gaetz has repeatedly denied he had sexual contact with anyone under age, but the fact that Greenberg, who has claimed to the contrary, is funneling this much potential evidence to investigators probably doesn’t bode well for the congressman.
ABC News reviewed some of the information Greenberg is forking over to investigators. It resembles the messaging history between the two previously reported by The Daily Beast and other outlets. For example, Google Voice text messages from 2018 indicate that Greenberg arranged a meeting between Gaetz and a women of legal age whom Greenberg met online. “I have a friend flying in and we are trying to make plans for tonight,” Greenberg wrote to the woman. “What are your plans for later, and how much of an allowance will you be requiring :)” The woman said she usually requires $400 per meet, after which Greenberg showed the woman a photo of Gaetz, indicating he was the “friend,” and asked the woman if she had ever tried the drug molly, also known as MDMA or ecstasy. “We work hard and play hard,” Greenberg wrote.
When reached for comment on the ABC News report, Gaetz’s office provided this statement to Rolling Stone:
“After months of media coverage, not one woman has come forward to accuse Rep. Gaetz of wrongdoing. Not even President Biden can say that. That others might invite people unbeknownst to a U.S. Congressman to functions he may or may not attend is the every day life of a political figure. The story references people the congressman doesn’t know, things he hasn’t done and messages he neither sent nor received. Rep. Gaetz addressed the debunked allegations against him — and their origin in an extortion plot during his Firebrand podcast episode last week. People should download and watch.”
Launching a podcast to attack those who have wronged him — from the Justice Department to Fox News, the network on which he was once a fixture — is the latest in a series of face-saving stunts Gaetz has undertaken since the news of the investigation threw his career into disarray. He’s toured the nation with conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, held rallies in defense of Brittany Spears, and, most recently, gathered fellow Republican trolls, including Greene, for a press conference to advocate for the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. The event was broken up by protesters soon after it began, though.
“Are you a pedophile?” activists yelled repeatedly as Gaetz fled the scene and hopped into an SUV.