Text messages and Facebook messages obtained by ABC News show Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s wingman, Joel Greenberg, arranging meetings with women for himself and the congressman through “sugar daddy” websites.
Greenberg, who pleaded guilty in May to sex-trafficking of a minor and several other federal charges, reportedly has been cooperating with prosecutors. Investigators believe it was Greenberg who met women through online “sugar daddy” websites and then introduced the women to Gaetz, who also had sex with them.
According to ABC News, Greenberg “has provided investigators with years of Venmo and Cash App transactions and thousands of photos and videos, as well as access to personal social media accounts.”
In one of the text message exchanges obtained by the network, from 2018, Greenberg appeared to arrange payment for a woman and ask whether she took drugs.
“I have a friend flying in and we are trying to make plans for tonight. What are your plans for later.” Greenberg reportedly wrote to the woman, referring to Gaetz. “And how much of an allowance will you be requiring :)”
The woman responded by saying she had “a friend who introduced (her) to the website that (she) could bring,” adding that she typically charges “$400 per meet.”
Greenberg then sent the woman a photo of Gaetz taking a selfie with students at Pea Ridge Elementary and wrote, “My friend,” ABC News reports.
“Oooh my friend thinks he’s really cute!” the woman responded.
Greenberg told the woman that Gaetz was “down here only for the day,” and that “we work and and play hard.”
“Have you ever tried molly,” he wrote, referring to the drug MDMA.
The woman ask if Gaetz used the same website that he had used to meet her.
“He knows the deal :),” Greenberg responded, adding that he would book a “suite Downtown.”
In another Facebook message exchange, also from 2018, Greenberg organized a gathering involving Gaetz and women he had been paying for sex at the home of Jason Pirozzolo — the Florida hand doctor who is also a subject of the FBI’s sprawling probe — which he referred to as “our safe place.”
“You should come meet the group,” Greenberg wrote to an unidentified Florida media entrepreneur. “I think it would be a wise investment of time. You might already know Jason Pirrazolo … but I’d like for you to meet Congressman Matt Gaetz. Gaetz is a wild man, but great dude.”
Greenberg added that the gathering would include “6-7 chicks” and “just 3-4 guys.”
Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and has repeatedly denied allegations related to the ongoing federal probe.
In a statement to ABC News, Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill said: “After months of media coverage, not one woman has come forward to accuse Rep. Gaetz of wrongdoing. Not even President Biden can say that. That others might invite people unbeknownst to a U.S. Congressman to functions he may or may not attend is the everyday life of a political figure. Your story references people the congressman doesn’t know, things he hasn’t done and messages he neither sent nor received. Rep. Gaetz addressed the debunked allegations against him — and their origin in an extortion plot — during his Firebrand podcast episode last week. People should download and watch.”
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DOJ Adds New Prosecutors for Matt Gaetz Case Who Specialize in Breaking Through ‘Psychological Manipulation’: Report
In an apparent sign of sign of “the complex and high-stakes nature of the inquiry” into whether Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz sex-trafficked a minor, the Department of Justice has added two high-level prosecutors from Washington to the case.
The Washington-based prosecutors recently joined a team of authorities in Florida who’ve been looking into whether Gaetz violated federal law by providing goods or payments to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Gaetz has not yet been charged and has denied wrongdoing. His alleged “wingman,” former tax collector Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same 17-year-old girl, and is cooperating with the DOJ’s investigation.
According to the Times, the Washington prosecutors’ expertise includes “dealing with children who have been exploited but may not see themselves as having been victimized, which can complicate trials if they are called as witnesses.”
Amanda Kramer, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who supervised sex trafficking cases for a decade, told the Times that legally, the victim’s state of mind is not a factor juries should consider when determining whether laws were violated.
“Technically, the government needs only to prove that the child was underage when the sexual activity occurred and that the child received something of value in exchange for it,” the Times reports. “But, Ms. Kramer said, the defense could try to use such witness testimony to confuse the jury or sour the legitimacy of the prosecution, although many judges would most likely shut down such a line of questioning.”
Kramer told the NYT: “It’s not uncommon for teens who have been trafficked to view themselves as willing participants and not as victims, often as a result of psychological manipulation by their traffickers. That’s one of many dynamics that make sex trafficking cases challenging for prosecutors, but it’s far from fatal to the case.”
Josh Duggar Dealt Another Blow as Judge Refuses to Suppress Video Evidence in His Child Porn Case
Josh Duggar was dealt yet another blow on Monday, after a judge refused his attorneys’ request to suppress video evidence in his bombshell child pornography case.
Duggar, once a darling of the religious right, an executive for an anti-LGBTQ hate group, and a “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation.
“In Mr. Duggar’s case, he has not shown that federal agents acted with reckless disregard for proper procedure,” U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks said Monday in denying attorneys’ requests, as the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. “And he certainly has not shown that the agents acted in bad faith. Moreover, Mr. Duggar cannot show he was prejudiced by any delay; the devices remained in law enforcement’s safe keeping throughout this time period, and the probable cause warranting the initial seizure of the devices remained viable through the date of indictment.”
In 2015 news broke that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a teenager, according to his parents.
Just three weeks ago the judge refused nearly all of Duggar’s attorneys’ requests, including dismissal of all charges.
His attorneys have tried to get photographs that include the 33-year old Arkansas native’s hands and feet suppressed, and even tried to have the case dismissed because the head of the Department of Homeland Security at the time of the investigation under then-President Donald Trump was, according to a federal judge, “unlawfully” appointed.
Trial is scheduled to begin November 30.
‘Did Greenberg Have Information on Gaetz Trying to Buy Himself a Pardon?’ Asks Former Trump University Prosecutor
An attorney who prosecuted the case against Trump University is weighing in on news that the Dept. of Justice just successfully delayed the sentencing date of Matt Gaetz’s “wingman,” Joel Greenberg by four months, saying it points to something “HUGE.”
“Update on Matt Gaetz — his buddy Joel Greenberg has had so much dirt that prosecutors have opened up entire new wings of their case,” says former New York State prosecutor Tristan Snell, “The investigation into financial crimes now includes help from Secret Service agents. There’s something HUGE here.”
On Monday federal prosecutors convinced the judge that Greenberg’s sentencing date should move from November 18 to some time in March.
“Did Greenberg have information on Matt Gaetz trying to buy himself a pardon from Donald Trump? Is that why the Secret Service is now involved in the investigation?” Snell tweeted.
Calling it a “bombshell,” in April The Daily Beast reported it had “obtained a confession letter that Joel Greenberg wrote after asking Roger Stone to help him obtain a pardon.”
That letter, The Beast revealed, was written by Greenberg “in the final months of the Trump presidency” and “claims that he and close associate Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women—as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.”
“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the 17-year-old.
Snell does not refer specifically to that letter, but adds: “Greenberg appears to have given the feds information about crimes totally beyond the scope of the original indictment of Greenberg — so the entire matter has snowballed.”
“And if they haven’t indicted Gaetz yet, it may be because the new material also implicates Gaetz.”
CNN reported that on Monday “Roger Handberg, an assistant US attorney, said that Greenberg has made allegations to investigators that ‘take us to some places we did not anticipate.'”
Handberg called the need for a second delay “unusual” but added the department was in an “unusual situation given the number of different investigations and lines of investigation we are pursuing.”
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