Joel Greenberg, who in May pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor and other federal criminal charges, has filed an unopposed request to delay his sentencing for three months, as he continues to work with federal prosecutors.
“Pursuant to his plea agreement with the Government, Mr. Greenberg has been cooperating with the Government and has participated in a series of proffers. Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing,” Greenberg’s motion said. “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.”
Greenberg’s sentencing hearing was originally set for Aug. 19.
In the plea agreement, Greenberg admitted to sex trafficking of a minor. He and several other adult men paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and also provided her with drugs, including ecstasy, according to the plea.
Greenberg was facing 33 federal charges; he pleaded guilty to six, including admitting that commercial sex acts between him and the 17-year-old girl took place at least seven times when she was a minor.
Greenberg also pleaded guilty to identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official. He faces at least 12 years to life in prison, but cooperating with law enforcement may potentially reduce his sentence.
Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector, is a longtime friend and so-called “wingman” to GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who himself has been under a Justice Department investigation into allegations that Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl—the same girl who Greenberg pleaded guilty to trafficking—and paid for her to travel with him. The New York Times broke the story in March.
Gaetz reportedly told multiple people that federal authorities had seized his phone, as well as his former girlfriend’s phone, in December, according to a Politico report citing sources who heard from Gaetz directly.
Legal experts believe that Greenberg’s request to delay sentencing isn’t great news for the other men implicated (but not named) in his plea agreement.
“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. “If he had nothing more to provide, it is unlikely sentencing would have been delayed.”
At the time Greenberg made the plea deal, former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman said on Twitter that it could be a “blueprint for charging Gaetz with the same crime.”
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing—despite paying Greenberg the exact sum that Greenberg then sent to three of the young women Gaetz allegedly paid for sex, via Venmo, according to the Daily Beast. The congressman has depicted the investigation as part of an elaborate extortion scheme that is also somehow linked to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, a link that Carlson immediately denied. Gaetz retained a lawyer in April.
Read Greenberg’s motion, below.
[Image of Gaetz via Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; image of Greenberg via the Seminole Co., Fla. Sheriff’s Office]
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