Donald Trump

Rep. Matt Gaetz Friend Joel Greenberg Will Plead Guilty in Case That Led to Sex Traffic Probe, Court Records Show

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | AP
  • Former Florida elected official Joel Greenberg has agreed to plead guilty in a criminal case that sparked the sex trafficking investigation of his friend Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, court records show.
  • Greenberg is scheduled to appear Monday in Orlando federal court for a change of plea hearing, according to the records.
  • Gaetz, a staunch supporter of former President Trump, has denied any wrongdoing.

Joel Greenberg, a friend of Rep. Matt Gaetz, has agreed to plead guilty in a criminal case connected to the federal sex-trafficking investigation of the Republican lawmaker and Trump ally, court records show.

Greenberg is scheduled to appear Monday morning in federal court in Orlando, Florida, for a change of plea hearing, the records state.

Greenberg, a county tax collector in Florida, faces charges including sex trafficking of a minor, stalking, wire fraud and identity theft. He pleaded not guilty to those charges, but his lawyer and prosecutors told a judge at a hearing last month that Greenberg was expected to strike a plea deal.

Greenberg's lawyer Fritz Scheller told reporters after that hearing, "I'm sure Matt Gaetz isn't feeling very comfortable today."

Scheller later said, "You've seen the number of stories out there and the emphasis is on their relationship. Isn't it obvious to assume that he would be concerned?"

Gaetz, who represents Florida's First Congressional District in the panhandle, has denied any wrongdoing and has not been criminally charged.

Harlan Hill, a spokesman for Gaetz, said in a statement, "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's statement referred to the fact that Greenberg is charged, among other things, with causing letters to be sent to a school where a man worked which accused that other man falsely of having engaged in sexual misconduct with a student there.

Gaetz is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, who was in office when the Justice Department opened its investigation of the GOP lawmaker.

Last month, Gaetz hired criminal defense lawyer Marc Mukasey to represent him in the investigation. Mukasey also represents the Trump Organization in a criminal probe being conducted by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

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