In a report detailing the symbiotic relationship between Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his longtime friend Joel Greenberg -- now awaiting trial on a 33 count indictment ranging from financial crimes to sex trafficking of a minor -- Florida locals admit they are surprised at the turn of events that has the GOP lawmaker fighting for his political career.
According to Politico's Marc Caputo, the two sons of wealthy families who are at the center of a scandal that is being investigated by the Justice Department, are well known for their exploits and associates believe it was only a matter of time before it caught up to them.
"Their relationship is central to the allegations against Gaetz, a fierce Donald Trump ally who denies having sexual relations with a 17-year-old and prostitutes. Together, the taxman and the congressman shared a life-in-the-fast lane existence that contradicted the staid image that most elected officials are careful to maintain," Caputo wrote. "The only-in-Florida political drama has taken one bizarre twist after another in the week since the news broke of the investigation into Gaetz. It's a tale marked by a complicated extortion allegation involving Iran and Israel, alleged sexual crimes, a tangential cameo of a popular conservative cartoonist and even a porn star."
According to local lawyer David Bear, who represents a rival of Greenberg, "You couldn't make this story up, it's so crazy," before adding, "Ultimately, it's about abuse of power and how the Republican Party lost its way with guys like this. As one of the few remaining Never Trump Republicans, nothing could make me happier than seeing Matt Gaetz and his kind being taken down. They're the embodiment of Trumpism."
Noting that the relationship between the two is not one of equals -- with Gaetz a high-profile member of the House and Greenberg toiling in local Florida politics -- an associate of the two said they had one major connection.
"Joel idolized Matt," explained the friend, who asked not to be named and added, "And since they both loved beautiful women and Joel seemed to have endless access to them, it was definitely an additional incentive for Matt to stick around. Also, Joel is one of the funnest people you can hang out with."
According to those who know the two, it was not unusual for them to "share" girlfriends, with Caputo writing, "Gaetz described Greenberg as a 'wingman' to some acquaintances, and even promoted him as a potential congressional candidate. Now some suspect Greenberg might be cooperating with prosecutors to build a case against Gaetz."
Greenberg might have good reason to cooperate since Politico is reporting that friends of his have been speaking with investigators about comments he made.
"Less than a year after winning office, the indictment says, Greenberg engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor and, using his special access to a federal ID system as tax collector, 'obtained, disclosed, transferred, and used personal information of individuals … including individuals with whom [he] was engaged in 'sugar daddy' relationships'," the Politico report states, "Three Greenberg friends — including one who testified before the federal grand jury investigation into Greenberg — told POLITICO they personally heard him boast about his 2017 relationship with a then-17-year-old girl they claim went on to work in pornography."
One other mutual friend reinforced the claim that Gaetz and Greenberg are deeply tied to each other, telling Politico, "Sure, Matt and Joel have a taste for pretty women like any red-blooded American male, but their relationship was personal and political beyond that. They're both MAGA, both into cryptocurrency and they're both really smart."
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There was a mass shooting in Indianapolis that reportedly involved an assault rifle.
"Multiple people were shot late Thursday night at a FedEx facility on the southwest side near Indianapolis International Airport, police said. The scene has been declared a 'mass casualty, Level 1,' according to dispatches. The declaration allows more emergency responders to go to the scene to provide support," WISH-TV reports.
The network interviewed Jeremiah Miller, who was starting his second shift at the facility.
"This made me stand up and actually look out the entrance door, and I saw a man with a submachine gun of some sort, an automatic rifle, and he was firing in the open. I immediately ducked down and got scared and my friend's mother, she came in and told us to get inside the car," he said.
Here are videos from the scene:
A witness who says he's an employee at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis said he heard several shots being fired a… https://t.co/v8V9UchWCb— WRTV Indianapolis (@WRTV Indianapolis)1618548734.0
BREAKING: MASS CASUALTY AT FEDEX INDIANAPOLIS: Police now calling this a mass casualty. Unclear how many victims.… https://t.co/mFKuRIy9hJ— Darius Johnson (@Darius Johnson)1618547884.0
Shooting at FedEx in Indianapolis https://t.co/DDDQAJMUHt— WCIA.com (@WCIA.com)1618548668.0
Publishing giant Simon & Schuster has pulled out of a project after a day of intense social media scorn.
"One of the Louisville Metro Police officers who fired shots during the attempted search warrant execution that left Breonna Taylor dead in her apartment last year is writing a book about the case. 'The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy,' written by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, 48, will be edited and published by Tennessee-based Post Hill Press," the Louisville Courier Journal reported Thursday. "Post Hill Press' website says it focuses on the areas of "pop culture, business, self-help, health, current events, Christian, and conservative political books," and its books are distributed by Simon & Schuster."
Simon & Schuster received harsh criticism following publication. Author Don Winslow was among those who blasted the publisher.
Dear @simonschuster This is just wrong. Horribly wrong. Don't do this. https://t.co/r8Uha2F9DQ— Don Winslow (@Don Winslow)1618540189.0
However, after Simon & Schuster announced it would not distribute the book, Winslow praised those who had spoken out.
https://t.co/iYYsiK6D0m— Simon & Schuster (@Simon & Schuster)1618541950.0
'Comically evil' Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert vote against National Marrow Donor Program
Controversial Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) were the wrong side of a 415-2 vote in Congress on the TRANSPLANT Act.
"Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert were the lone two members to vote against a bill that would reauthorize the National Marrow Donor Program, which matches bone marrow donors and cord blood units with patients who have leukemia and other diseases," CNN's Manu Raju reported.
Roll call vote on the TRANSPLANT Act.Screengrab.
Here's some of what people were saying about the first-term GOP lawmakers:
standing up for liberty means fighting bone marrow donors https://t.co/XoHWrvkNvF— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans))1618542431.0
Some people will do anything to reject science. https://t.co/K1wwi6eQhH— Hemant Mehta (@Hemant Mehta)1618541972.0
These two are like an evil Laverne and Shirley. https://t.co/k09ko4VET6— Mr. Newberger (@Mr. Newberger)1618542741.0
Comically evil and for no reason other than they’ll get talked about bc of the vote https://t.co/qO2pGybkYg— Carl Anderson fan club (@Carl Anderson fan club)1618542856.0
Thank you so much Aspen, Colo. and East Jesus, Ga. I have to assume everyone else you could have sent was worse? https://t.co/P9J850jHUy— Helen Kennedy (@Helen Kennedy)1618542415.0
Well, when you believe in Jewish Space Lasers and Chips in Vaccines, what would you expect. We Must Declare this a… https://t.co/osZbCXQM4M— Badd Company (@Badd Company)1618542769.0
This blows my MIND! These 2 are NOT in Gov to help. They are simply there to start fires. I'll also take this mome… https://t.co/PuYnbfkbXK— themocollins (@themocollins)1618543188.0
If you wanted any more proof that these people are nothing but trolls with no purpose other than to frustrate and d… https://t.co/ztCtTA7myI— Gary Whitta (@Gary Whitta)1618542338.0
The asshole caucus https://t.co/nV41tpXin4— Marcus J. DiPaola (@Marcus J. DiPaola)1618542734.0
Who the hell votes against something like that? QAnon morons, that's who. https://t.co/nUtrb9SMvJ— Short-N-Snarky™ (@Short-N-Snarky™)1618543082.0
there are a lot of nominees for the shittiest person in Congress, but wow, these two really rose to the occasion. https://t.co/YlocTclXuS— Jay Jaffe (@Jay Jaffe)1618541576.0
Of course. They’re professional provocateurs. They don’t care about people. They just like the attention doing horr… https://t.co/VZAEQggQ02— Kaz Weida (@Kaz Weida)1618542445.0
Because they think Leukemia is a hoax? https://t.co/DvFpd5asuY— Lori Coleman (@Lori Coleman)1618542353.0
A year from now, we'll find out they've been trafficking bone marrow. https://t.co/ZJDauIcgL2— David Jordan Nestor (@David Jordan Nestor)1618542580.0
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