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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaking at CPAC in February 2021 in Orlando. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joel Greenberg, an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), is in plea negotiations after being charged with sex trafficking of a minor, according to his lawyer, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: A plea deal may indicate that Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, is open to cooperating with investigators by providing information though it's unknown how deep the negotiations are.

Context: The Justice Department launched an investigation into Gaetz for sexual activity with women after first investigating Greenberg and indicting him last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, according to the New York Times.

  • Investigators believe Greenberg met women through websites for dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances and also introduced the women to Gaetz, who had sex with them, according to the Times.
  • The federal investigation is also examining whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws by having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paying for her to travel with him.
  • Gaetz has denied ever paying woman for sex and has claimed that the investigation is part of a criminal extortion scheme against him and his family.

The big picture:: During court-ordered meeting for Greenberg's case, federal prosecutor told a judge he expected the case to end with a plea agreement.

  • An attorney for Greenberg then asked the judge to set a deadline of May 15 for the two sides to either reach a deal, or move forward with a trial, according to the Post.

Go deeper: Gaetz to speak at pro-Trump women's conference amid sex trafficking probe

Go deeper

Gaetz to speak at pro-Trump women's conference amid sex trafficking probe

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is currently under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking, is set to speak at a conservative women's conference at former President Trump's Miami golf course on Friday.

What's happening: The Women for America First group will host Gaetz at Trump National Doral golf course, in addition to fellow Florida GOP Reps. Byron Donalds and Kat Cammack.

Updated 23 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.