Key player in Gaetz probe seeks sentencing delay so he can keep cooperating with feds

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TALLAHASSEE — A key figure in the ongoing federal sex-crime investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz is seeking to delay his sentencing as he continues to cooperate with prosecutors.

Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who in May pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and corruption-related charges, requested in a motion filed Tuesday a delay in his sentencing, which is scheduled for August 19. Prosecutors are not opposing the motion, court records show. He faces a minimum of 12 years in prison.

“Mr. Greenberg has been cooperating with the Government and has participated in a series of proffers. Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing,” read the motion. “The parties expect that Mr. Greenberg will participate in additional proffers, and a continuance would provide Mr. Greenberg with additional time to do so prior to his sentencing.”

Federal prosecutors charged Greenberg with 33 criminal counts but dropped 27 of those after Greenberg agreed to cooperative with federal investigators, who are now also looking into whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and has publicly criticized Greenberg, who he has previously referred to as a “wingman.” The Republican lawmaker is not mentioned in Greenberg’s plea agreement, but his attorney has directly mentioned Gaetz in public, quipping that the Republican lawmaker and close ally of former President Donald Trump should not be “feeling very comfortable” after an April court hearing.

Greenberg had to resign his position last year after prosecutors filed the first of three separate indictments. The probe into Greenberg began after he falsely accused a political rival of being a pedophile in anonymously penned letters. As the investigation expanded, Greenberg later faced charges of misusing public funds and sex trafficking of a 17-year-old, charges he has since pleaded guilty to.

As the investigation into Greenberg expanded, it eventually ensnared Gaetz, who has vocally denied wrongdoing since it leaked to the New York Times that he was under investigation.

Gaetz, who spoke last weekend during Trump’s rally in Sarasota, Fla., did not directly address the investigation but noted it has been a difficult few months.

“I’m not going to lie, after the past few months I needed that, thank you Florida,” Gaetz said as the crowd gave him a huge ovation.

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