Justice Department veterans say Matt Gaetz’s latest twist on sex trafficking could be the most “terrifying” thing to date for lawmakers.


Matt Gaetz

Congressman Matt Gaetz. AP

  • Gates is under greater pressure in the news that his companion Joel Greenberg is approaching a judicial deal.

  • If Greenberg cooperates, it means that someone that Gates may have colluded with is “cooperating with the government,” a former FBI agent said.

  • Greenberg was able to shed light on Gates’ intentions. It is important to file a proceeding against him.

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Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has been soaking in hot water since the New York Times reported its existence. Justice Department Investigation Whether he had sex with a minor and broke federal sex trafficking law.

Pressure on Gates came on Thursday after a lawyer representing former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, who was charged as part of an investigation, told the judge that Greenberg was on the verge of accepting a judicial transaction. It jumped further.

It is the development of earthquakes that causes problems for Gates. friendship With Greenberg At least dating back to 2017..Both men I grew up in a wealthy Florida circle Share similar interests with Greenberg Told BuzzFeed News In 2018 he considered Gates a mentor.

It is unclear what the terms of his judicial transaction will be. The agreement has not been formalized and its provisions range from convicted defendants to refusing to reveal information about other targets to convicting and agreeing to cooperate.

In any case, law enforcement veterans have said they put Gates in a very enviable position.

“There is no sign that his friend and alleged criminal partner has made a judicial deal,” said Jeffrey Kramer, a former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years in the Department of Justice.

“Gates is concerned about whether there is a cooperation agreement on this issue, including the defendant turning him over,” he said. Cherine Evadi, A former FBI agent who acted as chief agent in a government proceeding against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. “It’s scary to the conspirators because they know that someone who knows their crime, or someone they colluded with, is currently working with the government.”

Others repeated the evaluation.

“Simply put, as a prosecutor, you won’t turn Greenberg over unless you hand over Gates,” said Erie Honig, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. I have written..

Florida legislator has not been charged with crime, and he Diligently denied Allegations against him claiming that the department’s investigation is part Elaborate blackmail plan Targeting his family. A Gates spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Greenberg’s lawyer makes a rare statement

Greenberg’s lawyer Fritz Scheller seemed to hint at a judicial deal, including cooperation, on Thursday, Talk to reporters after a court hearing: “I’m sure Matt Gaetz isn’t very comfortable today.”

That said, it’s rare to announce the existence of a plea bargain because prosecutors and defense lawyers want to avoid tipping other targets.

“That’s certainly an interesting statement,” Evadi said in Scheller’s comment. “You may be wondering what motivated you to say that.”

She said she “tried to get both sides to work” because the collaborator “knows that she has leverage for someone and is trying to mediate some transaction in order not to cooperate”. Added that it was processed.

“do not know [Scheller’s] As a hint, collaborators generally do not want people to know that they are cooperating, so they do not know what the motive is.

When working with cooperating witnesses, the prosecutor also takes into account the credibility of that person. “Now you’re already admitting the crime and you’re dealing with someone who wants to tell you what you want to hear because it could shorten your sentence,” Evadi said.

To scrutinize the information they have obtained, investigators dig up documents, financial records, and electronic filings to support the testimony of cooperating witnesses.

Former Justice Department officials said the case could not be particularly difficult to resolve.

Investigators have a huge pile of breadcrumb trails to follow

Gates is suspected of having a sexual relationship with a woman at the age of 17 in 2019. Investigators are also investigating whether he paid her to travel across state borders and in doing so violated sex trafficking laws. The survey is investigating whether Florida State Capitol used election funds to fund women’s trips. Reported Times Investigators were scrutinizing Gates and Greenberg’s interactions with “multiple women recruited online for sex and paid in cash.”

CBS News reported Prosecutors also went to the Bahamas in late 2018 or early 2019 with a hand surgeon and marijuana entrepreneur allegedly charged for female sex workers, hotel rooms, and travel expenses. I was focusing on the trip I had.On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported it Gates sent $ 900 to Greenberg via Venmo In 2018, the Greenberg sent $ 900 to three young women in varying amounts.

“The problem for MPs is that anything that involves traveling with others always leaves a trace of documents and records,” Kramer said. “If he travels while having a sexual relationship with a minor girl, there are records to prove it.”

He added that the woman suspected of having a sexual relationship with Gates is now 19 and may be willing to talk to investigators.

What Greenberg can tell the prosecutor

Then there is other information that the prosecutor needs to file a strong proceeding. Details may not be available from records or documents. That’s where Greenberg comes in.

For one thing, he may have been familiar with conversations attended only by Gates, encrypted apps, text messages that may have been deleted, or private communications made over the burner phone. ..

“There may be a lot of things they did that the government might not be able to access or even know it exists,” Evadi said.

But the biggest thing he can talk about is whether Gates expressed his intentions in what he was accused of engaging in, she added.

“In response to the prosecutor’s accusation, the factors in various cases are often intentional or prove someone’s knowledge or intent when committing a crime,” Greenberg said. He added: [Gaetz] I was making statements like “I’m going to do this” or “I’m doing this for these particular reasons”. These are important words in such cases, especially when it comes to the elements of their intent. “

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