An associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz's is working toward a plea deal with federal prosecutors investigating a sex trafficking operation, potentially escalating the legal and political jeopardy facing the Florida congressman.
The revelation that Gaetz's political ally Joel Greenberg is seeking to strike a plea deal with investigators came during a hearing Thursday at federal court in Orlando. It is a significant step in the case and signals that Greenberg could potentially serve as a witness in the Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz.
A lawyer for Greenberg said after the hearing, “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.
No charges have been filed against Gaetz by the DOJ.
Gaetz previously said that he is being extorted by a “former DOJ official” for $25 million.
“The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation,” Gaetz said. “No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation.”
Gaetz said in a tweet that he has been "cooperating with federal authorities."
Gaetz has seen a rise in his national profile in recent years as he was closely tied to President Donald Trump as one of his strongest supporters. Gaetz was among a group of Republicans who voted to overthrow the results of the 2020 election.
Gaetz easily won a third term in 2020 with 64% of the vote.