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Politics Joel Greenberg, indicted tax collector tied to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, working on plea deal

23:25  08 april  2021
23:25  08 april  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Tom Reed face House Ethics Committee investigations

  GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Tom Reed face House Ethics Committee investigations Two Republican congressmen, Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Tom Reed of New York, are under separate investigations by the House Ethics Committee.Reed is accused of inappropriately touching a woman at a bar four years ago, and Gaetz faces a laundry list of allegations in connection with a Justice Department investigation.

Joel Greenberg, an associate of embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.

Prosecutors and a defense attorney told a judge in federal court in Orlando on Thursday they are working on a plea deal with Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, multiple media outlets reported.

Greenberg resigned last June after being indicted on multiple charges. The indictment was expanded to 33 federal charges last week that include sex trafficking, bribery, fraud and using his position to create fake IDs. According to multiple media reports, the investigation into Greenberg led investigators to open a separate investigation involving Gaetz  and whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel and if he paid for sex with other women. Gaetz has not been charged with a crime.

GOP House leader: No plans to discipline Matt Gaetz over sex-trafficking investigation

  GOP House leader: No plans to discipline Matt Gaetz over sex-trafficking investigation GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy doesn't plan to remove Rep. Matt Gaetz from the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department.Gaetz has been accused of having sex with an underage girl, then 17, and paying for her to travel with him. The three-term congressman who represents the Florida Panhandle has not been charged with a crime. He has denied any wrongdoing and argued that he is the victim of a complicated extortion scheme.

Gaetz and Greenberg were friends and supporters of each other politically.

The judge in Greenberg's case gave both sides until May 15 to negotiate a plea deal in the case.

Speaking to members of the media after the hearing, Greenberg's attorney Fritz Scheller was asked if Gaetz should be concerned about what happened in court Thursday.

"I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," Scheller said.

Joel Greenberg Is Poised to Plead Guilty. His Attorney Said Matt Gaetz Is Probably on Edge Right Now.

  Joel Greenberg Is Poised to Plead Guilty. His Attorney Said Matt Gaetz Is Probably on Edge Right Now. Court records say the ex-Florida tax collector who is facing a 33-count federal indictment alleging sexual and financial crimes is poised to plead guilty. The post Joel Greenberg Is Poised to Plead Guilty. His Attorney Said Matt Gaetz Is Probably on Edge Right Now. first appeared on Law & Crime.Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector who is facing a 33-count federal indictment alleging sex trafficking and various financial crimes, is poised to plead guilty. That’s according to court records on file with the Orlando Division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Greenberg’s attorney says his client’s friend, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.

Gaetz has vehemently denied all accusations that he did anything illegal. Gaetz's office did not respond to a request for comment to the News Journal about the hearing Thursday.

Just as news of the hearing broke, Gaetz's office issued a statement that was signed by "The Women of the Office of U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz," though it does not include specific names. There are eight women on Gaetz's staff.

"After the shocking allegations last week in the press, we, the women of Congressman Matt Gaetz’s office, feel morally obligated to speak out," the statement said. "Congressman Gaetz has always been a principled and morally grounded leader. At no time has any one of us experienced or witnessed anything less than the utmost professionalism and respect. No hint of impropriety. No ounce of untruthfulness."

The statement called on others to voice their support for Gaetz.

"On every occasion, he has treated each and every one of us with respect. Thus, we uniformly reject these allegations as false," the statement said. "Congressman Gaetz will continue to lead by example and stand for the people of America who have been maligned by the liberal elite. And we will stand with him. While we recognize the scrutiny we will face for making this decision, we take comfort in the hope that more Americans and elected officials will stand up and refuse to remain silent.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz's media blitz publicized a federal investigation. Legal experts say that poses risks

  Rep. Matt Gaetz's media blitz publicized a federal investigation. Legal experts say that poses risks Rep. Matt Gaetz is pursuing a risky strategy in publicizing a federal investigation against him, according to legal experts.Gaetz, R-Fla., a high-profile advocate for former President Donald Trump and a firebrand against Democrats in Congress, announced Tuesday he was under investigation. But he said on Twitter and in an interview on Fox News that he is the victim of an extortion plot and has denied having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl or paying women for sex, as alleged in the investigation first reported by The New York Times.

Matt Gaetz, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: President Donald Trump, right, accompanied by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., left, arrive for Game 5 of the World Series baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington on Oct. 27, 2019. © Andrew Harnik, AP President Donald Trump, right, accompanied by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., left, arrive for Game 5 of the World Series baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington on Oct. 27, 2019.

Few elected Republican officials have voiced outright support for Gaetz since the news of the investigation became public last week. On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump issued a short statement in response to a New York Times report that Gaetz had sought a blanket pardon in the final weeks of Trump's term.

"Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump said. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."

The hearing Thursday came after a new report from CBS News said federal investigators are now scrutinizing a trip Gaetz made to the Bahamas in 2018 or 2019 with an Orlando doctor, Jason Pirozzolo.

CBS News reported Pirozzolo allegedly paid for the travel, accommodations and "female escorts."

Pirozzolo is an investor in the medical marijuana business in Florida and has made donations to Gaetz's political campaigns.

Gaetz has long been a supporter of ending federal restrictions on medical marijuana.

Gaetz's office responded to the CBS story again denying any allegations that he paid for sex or had sex with a minor.

"What began with blaring headlines about 'sex trafficking' has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults," the statement said.

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Joel Greenberg, indicted tax collector tied to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, working on plea deal

The investigation into Matt Gaetz stemmed from a probe into a Florida tax official charged with stalking and sex trafficking, reports say .
Joel Greenberg is former tax official accused of crimes including sex trafficking, stalking, wire fraud and money laundering.Three sources told NBC News on Thursday that the probe into the Congressman emerged from the investigation into Orlando-area former tax collector Joel Greenberg.

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