CNN

Former Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to six federal charges

May 17, 2021, 9:13 AM | Updated: May 24, 2021, 2:14 pm
May 14, 2021, USA: Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to the Orlando Sentine...
May 14, 2021, USA: Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to the Orlando Sentinel in September 2019, during an interview at his office in Lake Mary. (Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)
(Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)

    (CNN) — Joel Greenberg, an indicted close confidant of Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, formally pleaded guilty on Monday morning to six federal charges in a court hearing, admitting to a federal judge that he had knowingly solicited and paid a minor for sex.

Greenberg spoke sparingly throughout the 45-minute hearing and with a tone of dejection, responding “yes” and “I do” as the judge read the details of his plea agreement. He wore a dark jumpsuit and had his hands shackled in front of him.

The guilty plea from Greenberg, a former Seminole County, Florida, tax commissioner, comes several days after he struck a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid some of the other 33 federal charges he had faced that ranged from identity theft to fraud and bribery allegations.

As part of the plea, Greenberg has agreed to give “substantial assistance” to prosecutors, including by testifying at trials or in federal grand juries if needed and in turning over all documents he might have that could help the federal inquiry.

The Greenberg plea documents released Friday document how he used popular cellphone apps to make contacts, paid thousands of dollars for sex with younger women, had drug-laced, multi-person rendezvous at hotels and repeatedly took advantage of his public office’s power and financial coffers.

Federal investigators are still examining whether Gaetz broke federal sex trafficking, prostitution and public corruption laws and whether he had sex with a minor.

Gaetz has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

The congressman isn’t mentioned in the 86 pages of plea deal documents released last Friday, something his spokesman, Harlan Hill, pointed to on Friday when he again insisted on his client’s innocence in a statement.

Greenberg’s admitted sex charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, yet prosecutors in the plea deal said that if he helped them significantly, he may be able get a sentence less than the minimum.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Image of the new summer treat: Ketchup-flavored popsicles (Photo courtesy of French's)...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

The newest, weirdest summer treat is a ketchup-flavored popsicle

A Canadian ketchup brand has launched an unusual twist on a popular summer treat: Ketchup-flavored popsicles.
22 hours ago
...
Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva, Salma Abdelaziz, Pierre Bairin and Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Russian missiles hit Kyiv as G7 summit begins in Europe

G7 summit begins in Germany, as Russia hits Kyiv with a series of missile attacks.
2 days ago
American Airlines planes sit at gates at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlingt...
Chuck Johnston, CNN

More than 700 flights canceled Sunday

Across the United States on Sunday, more than 700 flights were canceled, according to the website FlightAware.
2 days ago
President Joe Biden. He will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia in July....
Donald Judd, CNN

Biden signs bipartisan gun safety bill into law: ‘God willing, it’s going to save a lot of lives’

President Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major federal gun safety legislation passed in decades, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough.
3 days ago
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Jamiel Lynch and Chenelle Woody, CNN

Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie’s notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

Eight pages of Brian Laundrie's notebook were released Friday by the Laundrie family attorney. The notebook was found near Brian Laundrie's remains.
4 days ago
The Senate is poised to take a critical vote to advance a major bipartisan gun safety bill toward f...
Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav, Lauren Fox and Ted Barrett, CNN

Senate passes first major federal gun safety legislation in decades

In the first gun safety legislation in decades, the Senate passed bipartisan bill focused on gun violence.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Former Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to six federal charges