Former South Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, currently in police custody under a slew of charges including sex trafficking of a minor, stalking, bribery and defrauding the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department. Greenberg was closely associated with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), who is the subject of a federal probe investigating allegations that the representative had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
“I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Greenberg’s defense lawyer Fritz Scheller, said to reporters after court hearing Thursday. Scheller explained that Greenberg’s cooperation deal had been underway for the past month and that plea deal discussions for the former tax collector would likely take much longer. “We have all these levels of approval from the government, from the Department of Justice,” Scheller said. “It’s complicated. There’s a lot of different aspects to it, and it’s an ongoing process.”
Greenberg’s decision to cooperate indicates new trouble for Gaetz, but it is unclear if a Greenberg testimony would be accepted in court, as the former tax collector is also charged with falsely calling a political rival a pedophile, making any testimony about Gaetz’s alleged connection with a 17-year-old girl an easy target for the Florida representative’s defense team.
In case a plea deal is not reached between Greenberg and the Justice Department, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Presnell announced that Greenberg’s jury trial would be in either June or July.