Bad news for Matt Gaetz: Joel Greenberg asks judge for more time before his sentencing so he can cooperate with prosecutors over claims the GOP Rep trafficked an underage girl
- Greenberg, a tax collector from Orlando, pleaded guilty in May to six charges
- As part of his plea deal he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors
- Greenberg is believed to be detailing how he and Matt Gaetz paid women for sex
- Gaetz denied all allegations of sex trafficking and said it was a plot against him
- Gaetz, 39, was not mentioned in Greenberg's plea deal
- Greenberg faces up to 12 years: he was due to be sentenced on November 18
Matt Gaetz's friend Joel Greenberg - who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sex trafficking - asked a judge on Tuesday to postpone his sentencing until next year so he can continue cooperating with federal authorities.
Joel Greenberg, 37, on Tuesday requested more time before sentencing to allow him to continue cooperating with prosecutors
Greenberg asked the federal judge in a court filing to move his sentencing date from November 18 to next March.
The extra time will give the former local tax collector from an Orlando suburb more time to sit for interviews with federal investigators, the filing said.
'Pursuant to his plea agreement with the Government, Mr. Greenberg has been cooperating with the Government and has participated in a series of proffers,' read the motion, which was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
'Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing.'
The extension was unopposed by federal prosecutors.
Matt Gaetz, 39, a Republican congressman for Florida, was described as Greenberg's 'wingman'. Greenberg has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking, wire fraud and identity theft
Greenberg (right) is seen with Gaetz and Republican operative Roger Stone (left) in a 2017 photo
Greenberg is facing up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty last May to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a child, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.
Greenberg's plea agreement with prosecutors requires continued cooperation with an ongoing probe into sex trafficking.
Gaetz, 39, was first publicly named in the scandal in March.
Greenberg's attorney, Fritz Scheller, suggested after a May court hearing for his client that Greenberg was cooperating with investigators, and said that Gaetz is 'not feeling very comfortable today.'
Greenberg is believed to be telling prosecutors about encounters he and Gaetz had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex, a source familiar with the case told CNN.
Greenberg is pictured with his ex-wife Abby. She left him in March 2021 and Greenberg went to look for her, breaking the rules of his bond in his federal case of stalking a political opponent and child sex trafficking. He has been in jail ever since
Gaetz, a firebrand Republican who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, was not mentioned in Greenberg's plea agreement.
But Greenberg's cooperation could play a role in an ongoing investigation into whether Gaetz paid a 17-year-old girl for sex.
Greenberg was arrested in March 2021 (pictured) and has been in jail ever since
Gaetz has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot.
Orlando criminal defense attorney David Hill, who has no connection to the case, said extra time is sometimes needed in federal probes so that investigators have time to chase leads and verify what a cooperating defendant is telling them.
'If this is potentially going to take down a big fish, and the government thinks there is something to it, they want time to get as much information and verify it as well,' Hill said.
Meanwhile, in Pensacola, a man accused of orchestrating the extortion plot linked to Gaetz's federal sex investigation pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court.
The trial of Stephen Alford, 62, is now scheduled for Dec. 6.
Authorities said Alford was part of a scheme to get $25 million from a person identified in court records as 'D.G.'
In exchange, Alford said he could secure a pardon from then-President Donald Trump for a family member or get the Department of Justice to drop an investigation into the family member, as well as fund the release of a someone identified as 'R.L.'
Gaetz and his wife Ginger Luckey are pictured in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC on September 28
Gaetz and Luckey married in August in a small wedding, having said they would marry next year
Matt Gaetz's father is Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate.
Others who approached Don Gaetz have said in news reports that they wanted to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago.
According to court records, Alford has previous fraud convictions, including a 2006 judgment where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.