Report: Gaetz Ally Threatened To Blow Himself Up Before Turning Himself In

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According to The Tampa Bay Times, newly released records state that former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg claimed he had explosive devices as he negotiated his surrender with deputy sheriffs in early March, and also threatened to harm himself in various ways.

The situation “delayed for hours his arrest for violating his bond conditions,” the newspaper reported.

In an incident report, Seminole County Deputy Jerome Grunat wrote that when he arrived at Greenberg’s home in Heathrow about 9:20 p.m. on March 2, the former county tax collector initially said via phone that he would exit his home “after a short period of time,” but that time came and went.

During subsequent phone negotiations, Greenberg made suicidal comments, “stating at various times that he would take pills, utilize firearms, and that he had improvised explosive devices,” Grunat wrote.

The deputy described erratic behavior by Greenberg, who at one point opened his front door, threw a bag of medication onto the driveway, then retreated back inside, according to the report. Greenberg later surrendered after “several hours of negotiation,” the report said.

Greenberg was evaluated at a hospital after making suicide threats, but he was not “placed under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows for a person who is determined to be a threat to themselves or others to be temporarily admitted for mental health assessment,” The Times reported.

Asked whether Greenberg’s home was searched for explosive devices or other weapons, Cannaday said deputies were only there to assist U.S. Marshals with taking Greenberg into custody. The report did not indicate that Greenberg had threatened anyone.

The U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs did not immediately return a call seeking more information.

Greenberg is currently in the Orange County Jail as he awaits trial on 33 federal charges, including stalking, identity theft, wire fraud, bribery, theft of government property, conspiracy to bribe a public official, creating fake IDs and sex trafficking of a minor.

His arrest last month came “after authorities said he violated his conditions of release by driving to South Florida to look for his wife.”

The report noted that Greenberg’s “case has drawn national attention after it was reported last week by The New York Times that the investigation of Greenberg had led federal authorities to also target U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and prominent ally of former President Donald Trump, for potential sex trafficking offenses.”

Read the full report.

Image credit: Screengrab / WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando / YouTube

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