May 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Gaetz associate admits to sex trafficking, will cooperate with federal prosecutors

Photo of Matt Gaetz speaking at a Women for America First event

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl) speaks during the "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral golf resort on April 09, 2021 in Doral, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Staff via Getty Images

Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and admitted to a variety of federal charges including sex trafficking a minor, the New York Times reported Friday citing court papers.

Why it matters: Investigators believe Greenberg introduced women to Gaetz for paid sex and are looking into the Florida congressman's alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Greenberg could be a key witness as federal prosecutors decide whether to charge Gaetz.

Details: Gaetz's name does not appear in the court filing, but Greenberg admitted that he recruited women for commercial sex acts and paid them more than $70,000 between 2016 and 2018, including at least one underage girl.

  • Greenberg said he provided drugs to the girl and introduced her to "other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts" with her, per the documents.
  • Prosecutors say they have evidence that backs up Greenberg's admissions, including his communications and transactions with the girl, as well as the dates of their alleged sexual encounters.

What's next: Greenberg is expected to plead guilty to the six federal charges in Orlando on Monday, per AP.

The big picture: Gaetz has faced a flood of backlash from both parties since the investigation became public.

  • GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and others have called for him to resign.
  • The House Ethics Committee launched its own investigation into Gaetz in April.
  • Of note: The Florida congressman denies all accusations. "I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner," Gaetz told Axios in March. "I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not."
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