Joel Greenberg, the former confidant of Representative Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty on Monday in federal courtroom in Orlando to a range of costs, together with intercourse trafficking a minor, as half of a plea deal that can require him to assist in different Justice Department investigations.
“Are you pleading guilty to these charges because you are guilty?” mentioned United States Magistrate Court Judge Leslie Hoffman.
“Yes,” mentioned Mr. Greenberg, who wore a darkish blue jumpsuit and white surgical masks and was handcuffed.
Mr. Greenberg admitted in a plea settlement filed on Friday to a range of crimes. The listening to on Monday formalized that settlement, and Mr. Greenberg answered questions from a choose earlier than admitting his guilt.
Mr. Gaetz is beneath investigation into whether or not he violated intercourse trafficking legal guidelines by paying the identical 17-year-old for intercourse. On Monday, Mr. Gaetz’s title was not talked about in courtroom, nor was it referenced in the courtroom paperwork filed Friday.
Mr. Greenberg is dealing with over 12 years in jail but it surely was unclear when he will probably be sentenced. As half of his plea settlement, he wants to present substantial assist to the Justice Department’s prosecutions of others in change for assist convincing a choose to give him a extra lenient sentence. Defense legal professionals sometimes need to delay the sentencing for so long as attainable so as to give their purchasers the most time to assist the authorities.
Mr. Greenberg, a Republican, was a newcomer to politics when he received a native election in 2016 to turn out to be the tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., north of Orlando.
Shortly after taking workplace, in accordance to courtroom paperwork, he started committing a range of fraud and different crimes, together with utilizing taxpayer cash to pay ladies for intercourse and purchase sports activities memorabilia.
He was first indicted final June. At the finish of final yr, Mr. Greenberg started cooperating with the authorities as he realized that prosecutors had substantial proof towards him and that he might spend many years in jail if he went to trial and misplaced.
Mr. Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, had informed reporters after a courtroom listening to final month that “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.” But he declined to elaborate.
In response to questions outdoors the courtroom on Monday about whether or not Mr. Greenberg will cooperate towards Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Scheller supplied a barely extra measured response.
“He is bound by it the plea agreement — he will honor it,” Mr. Scheller mentioned.