Last year, federal prosecutors began investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and an associate, local Florida county tax official Joel Greenberg, over allegations that they transported an underage girl across state lines and paid her for sex. Ultimately, Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison after substantial cooperation with authorities — but Gaetz never faced charges.
On MSNBC Thursday, national security expert Michael Schmidt explained a key reason that might be.
"In documents filed in connection with Mr. Greenberg's sentencing, the Justice Department said he, quote, 'provided truthful and timely information that led to the charging of at least four other people and provided substantial assistance on other matters that the government would address only in a sealed filing,'" said anchor Nicolle Wallace. "Do you have any sense of what the other matters are, and if Mr. Greenberg is viewed as credible and witnessed Mr. Gaetz, quote, 'having sex with the 17-year-old girl'? I believe it's the same one and having evidence she was paid. Why hasn't Mr. Gaetz been charged with the same crimes that Mr. Greenberg was sentenced for today?"
"A high-profile matter is complicated for the Justice Department," said Schmidt. "The Justice Department, as you have seen, has moved very sort of methodically and, you know, at times, you know, according to the critics, slowly on the issues of politicians because they want to do a painstaking job to make sure they follow the evidence and the evidence is there to bring a case. It is — while we're supposed to be treated equally under the law, it is more difficult to bring a prosecution against a high-profile politician, a member of Congress that allied himself so closely with Donald Trump. And I think that if the department were to bring a case and lose a case, it would have enormous consequences."
Greenberg, by contrast, was much easier to go after, argued Schmidt.
"The decision to bring the charge in that sense against someone like Matt Gaetz is a much weightier decision than when the government had enormous amount of evidence against Joel Greenberg ... and could get him to flip and cooperate," said Schmidt. "He had a lawyer who realized that the only pathway to reduce his sentence time was to cooperate. Greenberg was looking at up to three decades in prison for his crimes. He was sentenced to 11 years. That's a significant departure. That was due to his cooperation."
Watch below or at this link.
Michael Schmidt on why Matt Gaetz wasn't charged with trafficking www.youtube.com