A former Florida official central to the federal investigation of Republican US Representative Matt Gaetz in connection with possible sex trafficking of a minor will plead guilty on Monday, a court filing showed, in a potentially troublesome development for the congressman.
The plea deal in a federal court in Orlando, Florida, will resolve some charges against Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida’s Seminole County, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller said in an interview on Thursday.
Greenberg has been accused of sex trafficking of a child, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, among other federal charges,
Greenberg, 37, is a friend of staunch Donald Trump supporter Gaetz, who also faces a federal investigation into a relationship with an underage girl, a law enforcement source has said.
Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has denied any wrongdoing.
Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill questioned Greenberg’s credibility.
“The first indictment of Joel Greenberg alleges that he falsely accused another man of sex with a minor for his own gain. That man was apparently innocent. So is congressman Gaetz,” Hill said.
The charges Greenberg faces include having letters sent to a school where a political rival worked, falsely accusing the man of sexual misconduct with a student, according to federal prosecutor.
At an April 8 court hearing, prosecutors indicated that a plea deal with Greenberg was imminent, according to local media reports.
Asked at the time by reporters whether Gaetz should be worried about a Greenberg plea, Greenberg attorney Scheller replied, “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”
Scheller may have been referring to media reports that Greenberg might cooperate with federal investigators in their investigation of Gaetz.