A key witness in the scandal surround Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Joel Greenberg, will plead guilty to six of the 33 federal charges against him as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors and has agreed to provide “substantial assistance” as a witness for other federal investigations.
News that Greenberg would be changing his plea became public on Thursday when a hearing was set before a federal judge in Orlando, but details of the plea agreement were made public Friday after prosecutors filed the 86-page document in federal court.
Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector, will plead guilty to sex trafficking a minor, creating a fake ID, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.
In case you missed it:Joel Greenberg likely to plead guilty Monday, could be key witness against Rep. Matt Gaetz
More:Report: Greenberg wrote ‘confession’ letter implicating Matt Gaetz paid for sex with minor
In exchange for Greenberg’s cooperation in other investigations, prosecutors will agree to drop the other 27 charges against him and ask for reduced sentencing on the six charges. Greenberg still faces several years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender.
He will also have to make restitution to his victims that are part of all 33 charges.
Greenberg signed the document on Wednesday and his initials appear at the bottom of each page. [Scroll down to see the letter]
The plea deal adds pressure to the scandal facing Gaetz. Gaetz is facing a Justice Department investigation over whether he had sex with a 17-year-old and paid for sex with other adult women.
Gaetz has vehemently denied the accusations, calling them lies and saying they are politically motivated.
Previous coverage:Indicted tax collector who kicked off Matt Gaetz investigation working on plea deal
A letter Greenberg wrote in late 2020 that was leaked last month to The Daily Beast claimed Gaetz was involved with the same minor for whom Greenberg is now pleading guilty to for sex trafficking.
In the letter, Greenberg said both he and Gaetz were unaware the girl was 17 at the time and that when he told Gaetz about the girl’s age after learning it, Gaetz was “equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation.”
The plea agreement lays out the factual case against Greenberg and said he paid for sex with a minor whom he met over the internet. The document said the minor misrepresented her age to Greenberg and they engaged in commercial sex, meeting at hotels “often with others” a total of seven times while she was a minor.
The plea agreement also said Greenberg paid for the minor to have sex with others and introduced her to other men who engaged in commercial sex acts with her.
Speaking to members of the media after the April hearing, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller was asked if Gaetz should be concerned about the deal.
“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Scheller said.
Greenberg’s hearing is set to take place at 10 a.m. ET Monday.
Jim Little can be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.