Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend to cooperate with federal authorities in sex trafficking investigation
The woman, a former Capitol Hill employee, is considered a critical witness as she was linked to Gaetz as early as the summer of 2017, a period that has become a key window of scrutiny for investigators. It can also help investigators understand the relevance of hundreds of transactions they have obtained records of, including those involving alleged payments for sex, the sources said.
Greenberg’s information in the run-up to his plea deal has already helped investigators deepen their scrutiny of the congressman. While working on a plea deal with federal prosecutors in recent months, Greenberg told investigators Gaetz and at least two other men had sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl, CNN has learned. Gaetz has repeatedly denied ever having sex with a minor or paying for sex.
“Congressman Gaetz does not appear to be named or referenced in Mr. Greenberg’s plea,” Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill said. “Congressman Gaetz has never had sex with a minor and has never paid for sex. Mr. Greenberg has now pleaded guilty to falsely accusing someone else of having sex with a minor. This person was innocent. Congressman Gaetz too. “
Justice Department spokesman Joshua Stueve declined to comment on CNN. Ex-girlfriend Timothy Jansen’s lawyer also declined to comment.
Greenberg plea agreement
According to the plea agreement, Greenberg had sex with the girl “at least seven times when she was underage” and “introduced the minor to other adult men, who were engaging in commercial sex acts with the child. minor ”in central Florida.
Greenberg’s cooperation on the matter is one of the main reasons 27 of the 33 charges he faced were cleared. The extent to which he supports him will have an impact on his final prison sentence. But already, an associate of Gaetz, one of the men accused by Greenberg, has denied the allegation during a meeting with federal prosecutors, the associate told CNN.
Gaetz and his representatives have attacked Greenberg’s credibility in recent days, pointing out that Greenberg admitted in his plea agreement that he falsely accused someone of having sex with a minor.
“If the government is brave enough to call Joel Greenberg as a witness, [Marc] Mukasey and [Isabelle] Kirshner can’t wait to attack him, ”said a person close to Gaetz’s defense team, referring to the congressman’s two high-profile lawyers.
“We are ready for a fair fight over the facts and the law. Anywhere. Anytime. But the constant stream of leaks from anonymous sources undermines the integrity of this process. It is simply and unequivocally inappropriate “the lawyers said in a statement. at CNN.
Asked earlier this week about Greenberg’s willingness to potentially testify against Gaetz, Fritz Scheller, Greenberg’s defense attorney, said: “Mr. Greenberg has pleaded guilty in accordance with a plea agreement and has certain requirements and obligations on him and he intends to honor him. ”
As part of its plea deal, Greenberg is required to cooperate fully with the federal government in other ongoing investigations and prosecutions.
Gaetz, who has not been charged with a felony, is also under investigation into allegations of prostitution and public corruption, CNN reported. He has long denied having sex with the 17-year-old in public statements and interviews.
Gaetz associate meets with federal investigators
Gaetz’s associate who met with the Justice Department earlier this month told CNN investigators spent most of the meeting asking questions about members of Congress and parties with young women , including the 17-year-old. Investigators appeared to be focusing on the meetings that took place in the summer of 2017, the associate said.
The associate, who was one of the men Greenberg told investigators had engaged in sex with the 17-year-old, denied to investigators that he had ever met the woman or had sexual contact with her in 2017, he told CNN. He also says he provided them with an independently administered polygraph test that he had taken days before the meeting.
He shared details of his contact with investigators with CNN on the condition that his name was not used.
Investigators also briefly questioned possible influence peddling revolving around the medical marijuana industry and a 2020 Florida Senate race in which a third-party candidate ran as a spoiler. , added the associate.
The associate said his meeting with investigators followed a December 2020 subpoena that requested communications and payments between him and Gaetz, Greenberg and another man, from January 2016 to today.
The summons said a grand jury was investigating allegations “involving commercial sex acts with adult and underage women, as well as obstruction of justice,” the associate said.
There are also new signs of investigative activity, after sources recently told CNN that the FBI was mostly done gathering evidence.
A person familiar with the case said federal investigators had sought information from new witnesses as recently as this month, including communications and payments from a group of men including Gaetz and Greenberg.
Decisions to charge Gaetz have yet to be made and will rest with prosecutors in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. This decision will likely take some time, CNN reported, as the Justice Department examines whether there is sufficient evidence for an indictment.