Former Seminole County tax collector and Gaetz ally Joel Greenberg reportedly paid $6,500 in 2017 to a woman who would later date Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
The Daily Beast reported in April:
In the Venmo transactions reviewed by The Daily Beast, however, there are at least 16 payments in 2017 totaling nearly $5,000 to a woman who would later go on to date Matt Gaetz. Additionally, Greenberg paid her $1,500 over the course of two days in April 2017 using Cash App. That woman—who came to Washington, D.C. as an intern in January 2018—has said she dated Gaetz during and after her senior year in college.
Federal investigators seized Gaetz’s phone in December 2020, and they took his ex-girlfriend’s device shortly after, according to two people who heard the woman describe the episode. Timothy Jansen, a criminal defense lawyer representing the woman, said she is refusing to speak to journalists and declined to comment.
These details were part of a larger report in which The Daily Beast revealed that Greenberg “made more than 150 Venmo payments to dozens of young women, and to a girl who was 17 at the time.”
More recently, The Orlando Sentinel reported that Greenberg “has agreed to plead guilty to six federal crimes — including sex trafficking of a child — in a deal that calls for him to cooperate with federal investigators, according to a plea agreement released Friday.”
The deal, which will be made official during a Monday morning court hearing Greenberg is required to attend, marks a turning point in the sprawling federal investigation that has roiled Florida politics and reportedly taken aim at Greenberg’s friend and ally U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.
In addition to trafficking, Greenberg will plead to charges of identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prior to striking a deal, he was facing 33 federal charges. Prosecutors will drop the other 27 counts filed against him.
Gaetz’s name does not appear in Greenberg’s plea deal, though it’s been widely reported that the former tax collector’s cooperation was sought in order for federal authorities to advance their probe of the Panhandle congressman.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr (cropped)