Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) friend Joel Greenberg will likely change his plea after facing four grand jury indictments alleging everything from sex trafficking to wire fraud, according to reports from a status hearing Thursday in Florida.
Greenberg has so far pleaded not guilty to the dozens of counts against him.
“We believe this case will be a plea,” one prosecutor told the court, CNN reported.
That spells potential trouble for Gaetz. The reported sex trafficking investigation into the congressman — authorities are said to be investigating whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, and whether anything of value was exchanged — stemmed from the investigation into Greenberg.
Both sides set a May 15 deadline for a plea deal, according to the reports.
“I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Greenberg’s lawyer Fritz Scheller told reporters afterward, The Orlando Sentinel and others reported. The attorney didn’t go into detail about his client’s potential cooperation with prosecutors, and said he hadn’t seen a proposed deal from the government, the Sentinel reported.
“He’s uniquely situated,” Scheller added of Greenberg.
The New York Times reported last week that Greenberg would meet women on websites such as SeekingArrangement.com and then introduce them to Gaetz for sex. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.
Multiple outlets reported earlier this month that Greenberg and Gaetz has been spotted on internal surveillance video at a Seminole County tax collector office in April 2018; Greenberg was the county tax collector at the time. According to the reports, the video showed Greenberg looking through drivers licenses.
Several of the allegations Greenberg faces relate to him illegally using information from discarded licenses and a state database, including the information of an unidentified minor sex trafficking victim between 14 and 17 years old at the time of the offense.
According to the Times, the 17-year-old with whom investigators are attempting to determine whether Gaetz had sex is the same minor victim discussed in the Greenberg allegations.
Neither prosecutors nor Greenberg’s lawyer mentioned Gaetz in court Thursday, nor did they mention any potential details about Greenberg cooperating with the government, according to multiple reports.