Witch Hunt?: Prosecutors Tell DOJ NOT to Prosecute Matt Gaetz Over Trafficking Allegations
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is not likely to face charges for allegedly trafficking a 17-year-old girl because of advice from career prosecutors calling witness credibility into question, a report Friday said.
The witness, Joel Greenberg, was a former Florida tax collector who Gaetz once described as his friend and “wingman.” Greenberg pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and sexual offenses.
Greenberg first brought investigators’ attention to Gaetz, telling them that Gaetz and at least two other men had sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl, according to the Dialy Mail. He also said to them that Gaetz and the men exchanged money and gifts for sex.
Greenberg has pleaded guilty to identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, conspiracy to bribe a public official, and sex trafficking of a minor. All of which raises serious credibility issues that impact the trustworthiness of his accusations of Gaetz and potential testimony. So much so that career prosecutors advised top DOJ officials against moving the case forward, anonymous sources told the Washington Post.
The allegations against Gaetz started in 2020, over these claims. However, the investigation became public knowledge last March when the New York Times broke the news. The investigation had been underway for months beforehand.
Investigators focused on a 2018 trip to the Bahamas where Gaetz was with several women, trying to determine if he had violated trafficking laws.
Gaetz, a married man, denies the accusations, dismissing the investigation as a “witch hunt,” and his lawyers have said they see “no credible basis” for the charges.
While some remain skeptical of Gaetz, many on Twitter have ripped into the increasingly politicized DOJ for how events unfolded.
I’m not a fan of @mattgaetz But the national press corps and the Justice Department owe him an apology. For more than a year, resistance types have slandered him based on a leak of an ongoing investigation. https://t.co/RTF688bXik
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) September 23, 2022
Whatever happens with Matt Gaetz he will forever have admitted his guilt in sex trafficking when he asked for the pardon.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) September 23, 2022
The problem with DOJ’s approach to the Gaetz case is you don’t cooperate 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.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) September 23, 2022
seems like the whole thing was an extortion scheme against Matt Gaetz's family pic.twitter.com/HJ0OljAamz
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) September 23, 2022
Gaetz’s office gave a statement to The DailyMail:
“Those who told lies about Congressman Matt Gaetz are going to prison, and Congressman Matt Gaetz is going back to Congress to continue fighting for America.”