Joel Greenberg court documents entered the Justice Department for ‘fiddling’ in the Matt Gaetz case
The Florida attorney who provided the federal government with a mountain of evidence documenting Rep. Matt Gaetz’s alleged sex crimes said the Justice Department — which has yet to prosecute the congressman — is “like Nero who have fun while Rome burns”.
In a court filing late Monday, the attorney representing a key government witness in the sex trafficking investigation finally put in writing a scathing criticism of the DOJ’s inaction.
This rare and aggressive decision calls out the DOJ for trying to destroy the life of a corrupt local tax official who reported his cronies – Joel Greenberg – but did not bring criminal charges against the wealthy and popular Republican congressman. who allegedly participated in drugs. and paid to have sex with a teenager.
Greenberg’s defense attorney, Fritz Scheller, tore up top public corruption prosecutors at DOJ headquarters, suggesting the case might be better handled locally.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Intermediate District of Florida is the only DOJ office to have filed multiple lawsuits based on Greenberg’s cooperation,” he wrote. “Perhaps the DOJ will put the prosecution in the capable hands of US prosecutors in the Middle District or the state of Florida.”
Greenberg used his stint as an elected Seminole County tax collector to enrich himself and turn the office into a criminal enterprise, hiring friends for jobs not shown and rewarding government contracts in return for bribes. wine. Since his arrest, he has pleaded guilty and helped local police and federal agents uncover illicit real estate transactions, embezzlement federal COVID-19 paycheck assistance, and a local Republican program to run ““ghost” candidates.
Greenberg also provided federal law enforcement with a ton of damning evidence about Gaetz sitting with them for hours to answer questions about their date with girls, according to two sources with knowledge of those sessions.
The Daily Beast has obtained an exclusive confession letter Greenberg wrote explaining how Gaetz used him as a middleman to pay for sex with young women and at least one underage girl. The Daily Beast also got Greenberg’s award non-public Venmo payments, which reflect this arrangement. In one instance, Gaetz paid his friend $900 and wrote “hit up ___” in the memo field, referring to the teenager they started seeing when she was underage.
The FBI opened its investigation in Gaetz in August 2020, the same month Greenberg was charged with trafficking that teenager. The New York Times first revealed the existence of this investigation in March 2021. The Daily Beast then revealed the growing body of evidence that Gaetz was actually involved. But in September of this year, The Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors suddenly got cold feet, choosing not to press charges against the congressman over the sex trafficking allegations.
In Monday’s court filing, Scheller openly questioned why the DOJ was so harsh on his client but not the congressman, noting that federal authorities had all the evidence they needed. He criticized the way prosecutors want to maximize Greenberg’s time behind bars by citing “deterrence” while completely ignoring the politician.
“If the government is so concerned with general deterrence, then why has it not prosecuted the other individuals, including public figures, who were also implicated in Greenberg’s crimes?” He asked.
“Indeed, Greenberg’s plea agreement refers to the involvement of multiple co-conspirators, including individuals implicated in his sexual offense. The identification of these potential co-conspirators was not only provided by Mr. Greenberg in his many offers, but was also collaborated by other witnesses and records. Unfortunately, at the time of Greenberg’s sentencing, many of these individuals were not held accountable,” he wrote.
According to three sources with knowledge of the investigation, federal agents explored the roles played by Gaetz, as well as his friend, powerful Florida lobbyist Chris Dorworth, former State Rep. Halsey W. Beshears, and Jason Pirozzolo. , a doctor who liked to fly them in private planes.
Scheller also considered having a special, independent prosecutor assigned to the case, in light of General Counsel Merrick Garland. recent decision to appoint a special adviser to oversee the politically sensitive investigation into former President Donald Trump.
There is a parallel here, as Gaetz aligned himself with the far right of his political party and sought to increase his position in American politics as an ally of Trump.
“Perhaps the DOJ will appoint a special advocate to deal with people who involve broader national concerns,” Scheller wrote. “Perhaps the DOJ is a master strategist far beyond the capabilities of the undersigned. Or maybe the DOJ is like Nero playing the violin while Rome burns.
While the sentencing memo acknowledges that Greenberg used his small elective office to embark on an unprecedented series of crimes – noting that “the government’s description is depressingly accurate” – it seeks to spare him the worst prison sentences possible. Scheller claims his client suffered from bipolar disorder and another mental illness that were exacerbated by his amphetamine use, pointing to a recent psychiatric evaluation. However, it is unclear how this would explain how Greenberg lobbied four women to have sex.
For its part, the DOJ acknowledged last week that Greenberg had been very helpful. Prosecutors thanked him for providing “truthful and timely information” that resulted in at least four separate federal indictments. And they also slyly referenced what may turn out to be the ongoing investigation into Gaetz, pointing to a sealed court document that is not publicly available.
“In addition, the defendant has provided substantial assistance on other matters addressed in the sealed supplemental memorandum regarding the defendant’s cooperation,” prosecutors wrote last week.
However, all this help has not amounted to much leniency. In its sentencing memo last week, the DOJ said the “significance of his assistance” should lower the “offence level” used to calculate how long he will spend behind bars. But prosecutors urged the judge not to consider any other aspect of his life, citing how he “repeatedly used his position to engage in a bold, brazen and almost unflinching crime of sex trafficking a child, unlawfully producing a false identity document, aggravated impersonation, wire fraud, harassment and conspiracy to defraud the government.”
Greenberg is expected to be sentenced in Orlando on December 1.