According to a report from Politico, a convicted former Florida tax official who is often described as the "wingman" for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during his partying days, has successfully forestalled his sentencing after pleading guilty to sex crimes last year because he is still providing an "unexpected' wealth of information to federal investigators.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell agreed to move Joel Greenberg's sentencing out until March at the request of Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg who called the Gaetz associate, "a prolific criminal" in court.
In making his case to hold off on the sentencing, Handberg explained, "Mr. Greenberg was not alone. This is an unusual situation in the number of different investigations and lines of investigation we are pursuing," adding investigators require more time "because of the need to follow up on some of these leads."
Additionally Handberg said some information given by Greenberg was "unexpected," telling the judge, "The investigators in this case have followed the evidence where it takes them. This is obviously not a normal situation."
As Politco's Marc Caputo writes, "The biggest prize for federal prosecutors is Gaetz, who was not mentioned in court Monday and is under investigation on suspicion he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl to whom Greenberg had introduced him in 2017."
The report adds, "Sex-trafficking a minor isn't the only potential charge Gaetz faces. Prosecutors have been looking at a 2018 Bahamas trip Gaetz was on to see if the congressman and two political allies violated the Mann Act, which forbids taking people across state lines to engage in prostitution. Greenberg wasn't on that trip, but the victim of his sex trafficking was, though at that point she had turned 18. Gaetz previously said he never paid for sex."
Moving the sentencing out will continue to cast a cloud on Gaetz who is facing reelection in 2022 and will likely be a campaign issue for him.
According to a recent report from Mother Jones, Gaetz is having fundraising difficulties.
"Gaetz campaign's latest filing shows that his fundraising has all but dried up. He raised just $527,000 from July 1 to September 30. He spent far more—$627,000—trying to raise that money. In another parallel to Greene, Gaetz's biggest expenses are direct mail and paying fundraising consulting costs to his vendors. In fact, those two things ate up more than 60 percent of his donations," the report states.
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