Joel Greenberg Asks for Second Sentencing Delay
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Matt Gaetz ‘Wingman’ Joel Greenberg Requests Second Sentencing Delay to Make Way for More Government Cooperation

Matt Gaetz Tax Collector Friend Florida

Joel Greenberg

After successfully delaying his sentencing three months to make way for government cooperation, an oft-described “wingman” to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) requested another postponement in order to derive more benefit from his prolific interviews with prosecutors.

Then and now, the government did and does not oppose those requests.

In May, Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor and other federal criminal charges. He filed his second unopposed motion on Tuesday to keep telling prosecutors what he knows before being sentenced for the crimes to which he has admitted.

According to his motion filed on Tuesday, Greenberg has “participated in a series of proffers” that “could impact his ultimate sentence” but “cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing.” Greenberg’s earlier request for a postponement contained nearly identical language. He wants to delay the imminent proceedings some four months, from Nov. 19 this year until March 2022.

“The parties expect that Mr. Greenberg will participate in additional proffers, and a continuance would provide Mr. Greenberg with additional time to do so prior to his sentencing,” his attorney Fritz Scheller wrote in an unopposed, three-page motion.

Scheller did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s press inquiry.

Greenberg offered to provide the court with more information about his cooperation outside the public docket.

“Because Mr. Greenberg’s ongoing cooperation involves sensitive matters concerning ongoing investigations, he requests that the parties be allowed to provide additional information regarding Mr. Greenberg’s cooperation to the Court under seal, if deemed necessary,” his counsel wrote in a footnote.

In a plea agreement admitting to sex trafficking a minor, Greenberg said that he and other adult men paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and also provided her with drugs, including ecstasy.

Once facing 33 counts, Greenberg pleaded down to six, including allegations that he engaged in commercial sex acts with a 17-year-old girl at least seven times when she was a minor. That is reported to be the same teenager at the center of a Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz also had a sexual relationship with her.

The New York Times broke that story in March.

Gaetz vehemently denies the allegations, depicting himself that month as the victim of a massive “extortion” scheme against him.

In late August, federal prosecutors did allege a $25 million plot to shake the Florida congressman down by dangling the prospect of a “presidential pardon.” Prosecutors claim that Florida man Stephen M. Alford tried to defraud Gaetz by having his father pay that amount to fund the rescue of former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who is now presumed dead after disappearing in Iran in 2007.

“Stephen M. Alford falsely represented in the ‘Project Homecoming’ letter that his ‘team has been assured by the President’ that he will ‘strongly consider’ a ‘Presidential Pardon’ or ‘instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any and all investigations involving [Family Member A]’ should the team be able to secure the purported release of R.L. from captivity,” the indictment states, apparently referring to Robert Levinson and Gaetz.

The first time that Greenberg requested — and the government did not oppose — a sentencing delay, legal experts opined to Law&Crime that the development could bode poorly for the man’s as-yet-unnamed co-conspirators.

“Although we don’t know what information Greenberg can truly provide that is credible, it goes without saying that the longer prosecutors find his cooperation helpful and productive, the worse it gets for anyone who engaged in potentially criminal behavior with him,” national security attorney Bradley Moss told Law&Crime in July. “If he had nothing more to provide, it is unlikely sentencing would have been delayed.”

Rep. Gaetz’s attorney Marc Mukasey did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.

Read the motion below:

[Image of Greenberg via the Seminole Co., Fla. Sheriff’s Office]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.