The Justice Department’s investigation into allegations that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl reportedly was sparked by a case against his Florida ally Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who currently faces federal charges that include child sex trafficking.
From The Washington Post:
Until last year, Joel Greenberg was an ascendant political player in Seminole County, Fla., where he unseated a longtime incumbent in the race for county tax collector, won a political battle to allow his deputies to carry guns on the job and flaunted his connections to prominent Republicans with close ties to then-President Donald Trump, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Roger Stone.
But last June his reputation fell apart in spectacular fashion when federal investigators arrested him on stalking and child sex trafficking charges, prompting his resignation.
On Tuesday, the case against Greenberg, 36, gained national prominence after the New York Times reported that it had also sparked a separate criminal investigation into allegations that Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.
The Justice Department is investigating allegations that Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel across state lines, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Gaetz confirmed the inquiry in an interview with Axios, but has said the allegations are an attempt to extort his family. The FBI is separately investigating the extortion claim, The Post reported.
The Post reported that while it is unclear how Greenberg’s criminal case is connected to the investigation of Gaetz, it is evident “that the two men, who posed for a photo together outside the White House in 2019, had ties in Florida, where they both first gained power in the GOP around 2016.”
Gaetz also posted to his Facebook page in 2017 that he had enjoyed dinner with Greenberg, as well as fellow Trump ally Roger Stone, sharing a photo of the three of them together.
The newspaper detailed Greenberg’s many scandals, up to and including the federal charges related to child sex trafficking.
In August, federal investigators added charges that Greenberg had used his government position to commit identity theft and accused him of sex trafficking a child.
Investigators said they found several fake IDs inside Greenberg’s home and accused the tax collector of improperly accessing a state database to access personal information of people he was in “sugar daddy” relationships with, including a minor victim between the ages of 14 and 17. Greenberg allegedly made the fake IDs to help “facilitate his efforts to engage in commercial sex acts,” according to the indictment.
Image credit: Matt Gaetz / Facebook