Matt Gaetz's associate Joel Greenberg will likely accept a plea deal, his lawyers told a judge

Matt Gaetz's associate Joel Greenberg will likely accept a plea deal, his lawyers told a judge
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., listens during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.AP
  • Matt Gaetz's associate Joel Greenberg will likely accept a plea deal, his lawyers said Thursday.
  • Gaetz and Greenberg are the focus of a wide-ranging federal sex crimes investigation.
  • "I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," Greenberg's lawyer told reporters.

Joel Greenberg, an indicted former Florida tax collector, will likely accept a plea deal, his lawyers told a judge on Thursday.

"We believe this case will be a plea," Roger Handberg, one of the federal prosecutors working on the case, told the court.

Gaetz and Greenberg are at the center of a broad Justice Department sex-crimes investigation. Greenberg has been indicted on 33 counts, including one charging him with carrying out the sex trafficking of a minor between the ages of 14 and 17.
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Gaetz has not been charged as part of the investigation, but investigators are said to be examining whether he had sex with a minor in 2019 - the same girl involved in the sex-trafficking count against Greenberg - and if he violated federal sex-trafficking laws.

The Florida Republican has denied the allegations against him and claims the investigation into him is part of an elaborate scheme to extort his family.

Greenberg's lawyer, meanwhile, told reporters on Thursday after the court hearing that his client's knowledge could put Gaetz in hot water.
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"I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," he said.

These are some of the key threads in the Gaetz probe:
  • Investigators are also said to be examining whether Gaetz used campaign money to fund travel and other expenses for women.
  • The New York Times reported that the inquiry is focusing on Gaetz and Greenberg's interactions with "multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments."
  • One person familiar with the conversations told The Times that Gaetz told the women to say that he paid for dinners and hotel rooms as part of their dates if anyone asked about the nature of their relationships.
  • People familiar with the encounters told The Times that some of the men and women, including Gaetz, took MDMA before having sex, and that in some cases the Florida lawmaker asked the women to find others who may want to have sex with him and his friends.
  • ABC News reported that the sex probe is focusing not just on Gaetz's conduct in his home state of Florida but in other states as well.
  • CBS News reported that investigators are looking into a trip Gaetz took to the Bahamas in late 2018 or early 2019 with a hand surgeon and marijuana entrepreneur named Jason Pirozzolo. Sources told the news outlet that Pirozzolo footed the bill for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and female escorts on the alleged trip, and that investigators are examining whether the women were trafficked illegally across state lines to have sex with Gaetz.
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