On March 30, The New York Times broke the bombshell story that Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, is under investigation by the DOJ for the possible violation of federal sex trafficking laws. They are looking into whether he may have engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him. It is illegal, the Times informed its readers, “to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value.” The encounters are said to have occurred about two years ago.
The Times also wrote that Gaetz is a subject, rather than the target, of the investigation. Their sources were identified as “three people briefed on the matter.”
As it turns out, the DOJ is investigating the congressman.
The Times described the target of the investigation as a Gaetz associate named Joel Greenberg. According to the Times, Greenberg “was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.” Prior to Greenberg’s indictment, he served as the Seminole County tax collector.
Last week, Greenberg reached a plea deal with prosecutors. According to The Washington Post, he “pleaded guilty Monday to sex trafficking of a minor and a host of other crimes, agreeing to cooperate fully with prosecutors and testify in court in hopes of leniency for himself.”
The Post and other major media outlets played up Greenberg’s association with Gaetz. They were delighted by this turn of events anticipating the damage that Greenberg’s testimony could inflict on Gaetz.
They wrote: “His plea and deal to cooperate is a potentially ominous sign for Gaetz (R-Fla.) because it signals prosecutors have lined up a critical witness while they continue to investigate the congressman. Gaetz has vigorously denied wrongdoing.”
But, they left out one very critical piece of information which Raheem Kassam, the editor of The National Pulse, discovered.
Kassam reports that, among other charges, Greenberg pleaded guilty to falsely accusing a school teacher (who had planned to run against him in the 2020 election for the office of Seminole County Tax Collector) of having sex with a minor. Additionally, Kassam wrote that “Greenberg is the only person making accusations about Rep. Gaetz right now – two months in – and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest his animosity is driven by Gaetz’s refusal to get involved in Greenberg’s demands for a pardon from President Trump.”
Count Four states: “Greenberg used the mail, an interactive computer service, an electronic communication service, an electronic communication system of interstate commerce, and a facility of interstate commerce to engage in a course of conduct that caused, attempted to cause, and would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to the Teacher.”
“Greenberg started by mailing letters. On or about October 10, 2019, Greenberg used the United States Mail to send an anonymous letter that purported to be from a “concerned student.” The letter was mailed from the Middle District of Florida and was addressed to the head of the school where the Teacher worked.”
If Greenberg was willing to smear a school teacher to prevent him from entering the race, he is capable of doing the same thing to Gaetz.
A jury would find Greenberg to be a very incredible witness. Certainly, it would be difficult to convict Gaetz if Greenberg has already pleaded guilty to a nearly identical crime.
Even taking the double standard into account, I don’t see it happening.
“The victim of Count Four is a teacher at a school located in the Middle District of Florida (referred to herein as the “Teacher”). On or about October 4, 2019, the Teacher filed with the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections to run Because the Teacher had filed to run in opposition to him, Greenberg used the mail, an interactive computer service, an electronic communication service, an electronic communication system of interstate commerce, and a facility of interstate commerce to engage in a course of conduct that caused, attempted to cause, and would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to the Teacher.
“The envelope contained an anonymous typed letter addressed to the head of the school that contained information, alleging an inappropriate relationship between a student and teacher. In that letter, Greenberg, posing as a student at the school, falsely represented that he had first-hand knowledge of a sexual relationship between another fictitious student identified as “R” and the Teacher. Greenberg, posing as a student at the school, falsely represented that “R” admitted to engaging in oral and anal sex with the Teacher and that the incidents took place at the school. Greenberg, posing as a student at the school, signed the-letter “a very concerned student” at the school.”
“Greenberg’s false accusations resulted in local law enforcement conducting a criminal investigation of the Teacher. Florida Statute § 800.101 criminalizes any “authority figure,” such a teacher at school, from soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct, a relationship of a romantic nature, or lewd conduct with a student enrolled at a school. Violations of the statute are second degree felonies.
“Greenberg’s false allegations about the Teacher involved false claims that the Teacher had committed felony criminal offenses. As Greenberg knew when he made those allegations in the letters and in the online posts, those allegations were false. Greenberg made those false allegations to cause substantial emotional distress to the Teacher. After investigating the Teacher, local law enforcement found no support whatsoever for the false allegations that Greenberg had made.”