Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz and former Seminole County, Florida tax collector, plead guilty to six federal charges in court on Monday morning. Greenberg admitted to a federal judge that he knowingly solicited and paid a 17-year-old girl for sex.
Greenberg struck a deal with prosecutors to lessen some of the other 33 federal charges he was facing. He agreed to give prosecutors as much information as he can to help with their investigation. Federal investigators are trying to figure out if Representative Gaetz broke any federal sex trafficking, prostitution, and public corruption laws and if he engaged in any sexual activities with minors.
Representative Gaetz insists that he is innocent.
Fritz Scheller, Greenberg’s attorney, told reporters that his client is remorseful after the hearing on Monday morning.
“He’s on the path to rehabilitation, and he has a great deal of remorse,” Scheller said. “I think he’s feeling a sense of acceptance.”
Representative Gaetz was not mentioned in the 86 page plea deal documents. Scheller would not share with reporters how many times Greenberg has met with federal investigators and if Representative Gaetz or other public officials in Florida will face any challenges.
Roger Handberg, the lead prosecutor for the case, says that no portion of the plea agreement is under seal.
“Does my client have information that could hurt an elected official? I guess this is must-see television. You’ll have to wait and see,” Scheller said.
Greenberg pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and stalking a political rival. He will have to pay restitution to the victim and register as a sex offender.
Brian Beute, the political competitor that Greenberg harassed, told reports that he has a “renewed hope and satisfaction with our federal system.”
The sex charge Greenberg pleaded guilty to carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Yet, prosecutors in the plea deal said that if he helped them significantly, he might be able to get a sentence less than the minimum.