Gaetz friend asks for more time to cooperate with feds

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and his wife Ginger Luckey walk through the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Joel Greenberg, the friend of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sex trafficking, asked a judge on Tuesday to postpone his sentencing until next year so he can continue cooperating with federal authorities.

Greenberg asked the federal judge in a court filing to move his sentencing date from mid-November to next March.

The extra time will give the former local tax collector from an Orlando suburb more time to sit for interviews with federal investigators, the filing said.

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“Indeed, Mr. Greenberg’s ongoing cooperation, which will not be completed prior to his current sentencing date, could have an impact on his final sentence," according to the court filing, which said the extension was unopposed by federal prosecutors.

Greenberg is facing up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty last May to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a child, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

Greenberg's plea agreement with prosecutors requires continued cooperation with an ongoing probe into sex trafficking.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, was not mentioned in Greenberg’s plea agreement. But Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an ongoing investigation into whether Gaetz paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. Gaetz has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot.

Orlando criminal defense attorney David Hill, who has no connection to the case, said extra time is sometimes needed in federal probes so that investigators have time to chase leads and verify what a cooperating defendant is telling them.

“If this is potentially going to take down a big fish, and the government thinks there is something to it, they want time to get as much information and verify it as well,” Hill said.

Meanwhile, in Pensacola, a man accused of orchestrating the extortion plot linked to Gaetz's federal sex investigation pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court. The trial of Stephen Alford, 62, is now scheduled for Dec. 6.

Authorities said Alford was part of a scheme to get $25 million from a person identified in court records as “D.G." In exchange, Alford said he could secure a pardon from then-President Donald Trump for a family member or get the Department of Justice to drop an investigation into the family member, as well as fund the release of a someone identified as “R.L.”

Matt Gaetz's father is Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate. Others who approached Don Gaetz have said in news reports that they wanted to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago.

An attorney for Alford did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment. According to court records, Alford has previous fraud convictions, including a 2006 judgment where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(6) comments

KeepCalm

Boy, they sure are 'after' Matt Gaetz, they (the Democrat Party) are scared to death of him and will try anything to get rid of him. He's a real stand-up guy!

MikeBond

I'm not a Democrat and MG is a traitor as far as I am concerned.

KeepCalm

Hi Mike Bond. I'm not a Democrat either. Also not a Republican.

So okay, I'll bite and am willing to consider what you tell me...

How is Matt Gaetz a traitor?

MikeBond

Failed to defend the Constitution, spread disinformation and misinformation about the elections as well as the January insurrection. And conspiracy to further this delusional coup by the last president.

The evidence, as I'm sure you know, is well documented. For me either you believe in the Constitution, or you don't. Nobody in this country has the privilege or entitlement to believe in the Constitution only when convenient.

Connect that guy to a polygraph machine and let's ask him some questions.

KeepCalm

Okay, for some reason I don't seem to be able to 'Reply' to your latest comment, so hopefully this will appear as a 'Reply.' Anyway, thank you for your candid in-depth response. I considered what you said and researched it on govtrack.us

It seems that the attention focused on Matt Gaetz is possibly politically motivated harrassment, none of it was found to have probable cause and all the cases were closed. So if you have further documentation , please advise.

Matt Gaetz is a representative of District 1, northwest Florida.

Congressman Gaetz is a true patriot who 'goes to bat' for his constituents.

MikeBond

“Politically motivated harassment”? Gaetz stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and lied right after the insurrection. It's all on video.

Govtrack.us tracks legislation and attendance of lawmakers, not speeches.

Incidentally, Joshua Tauberer, the founder of Govtrack.us, shut down for a while because of the Big Lie that the former president told and Gaetz has helped spread.

I grew up around “true patriots” and he is nothing like them. Just my opinion.

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