Legal analyst says Matt Gaetz decision is 'atrocious prosecutorial practice'

Following a Washington Post report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will likely not recommend sex trafficking charges against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one legal mind shared his anger with the course of the investigation, calling it "atrocious prosecutorial practice."

Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor and senior legal analyst for CNN, explained the problems with the DOJ's moves on Twitter. "The problem with DOJ’s approach to the Gaetz case is you don’t cooperate with a horrible person like Joel Greenberg *unless and until* you know for sure you can and will rely on his testimony. To flip Greenberg and decide later that he’s unusable is atrocious prosecutorial practice," Honig said.

The person Honig is referring to, Joel Greenberg, was a former tax collector previously associated with Gaetz. He was charged in 2020 and pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor, in addition to a host of other charges.

In cooperating with the DOJ for a deal, Greenberg provided evidence that pointed toward Gaetz allegedly committing similar crimes with minors. This evidence reportedly pointed toward Greenberg allegedly paying a 17-year-old girl to have sex with Gaetz.

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According to the Post, Greenberg, who is scheduled to be sentenced later this year, may receive a lighter sentence if it is decided that he gave "substantial assistance" toward other cases, including Gaetz's. He has already had 27 other charges against him dropped in exchange for his cooperation.

However, Greenberg had already admitted to making up allegations about a different sexual relationship, and Honig criticized the fact that the DOJ gave a deal to a witness without first making sure he was credible.

"Prosecutors flip bad guys all the time; I've flipped killers. But you don't give a cooperation deal until you have fully vetted them and are sure they are strongly corroborated," Honig added. "To do otherwise is to cut Greenberg a huge break, without making other big cases from his testimony."

Honig also said that "you don't flip an unspeakably horrible person like Greenberg -- admitted child sex offender, perjurer, and fraudster -- to go after the riffraff."

Gaetz, meanwhile, has continually denied any wrongdoing, and has claimed his innocence since the investigation into him first started nearly two years ago. He is not completely out of the woods yet, however, as the House Ethics Committee also launched their own investigation in 2021.