December sentencing date set for former Seminole tax collector, Matt Gaetz’s former friend Joel Greenberg

Greenberg’s sentencing has already been delayed for more than a year because he is cooperating with an investigation into U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz.

Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenbergwho is cooperating with federal authorities in their investigation of the U.S. Representative. Matt Gaetzwill be sentenced on December 1 on five counts of public corruption and one count of sex trafficking of a minor.

Judge Gregory Presnell of the Central District of Florida set a sentencing date on Friday, after Greenberg’s initial sentencing was already delayed more than a year after he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Greenberg, a political ally and friend of Gaetz, was first arrested in 2020 and charged with 33 counts, mostly related to public corruption during his time as tax collector, as well as theft, fraud and harassment.

In May 2021, he pleaded guilty to the remaining six counts as part of a deal with prosecutors as he works with federal authorities investigating Gaetz. In the plea agreement, Greenberg admitted to paying to have sex with a minor and introducing the minor to other adult men, although no names were mentioned. Greenberg asked for subsequent sentencing delays to give him more time to work with federal law enforcement.

An FBI investigation into Gaetz’s possible involvement in trafficking a minor was first made public in a New York Times report in March 2021. Later reports showed payments made by Greenberg on Venmo to women who had sex with Greenberg and Gaetz.

Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and he has denied any wrongdoing.

Under federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, Greenberg could face anywhere from 12 years to life in prison for the sex trafficking charge alone. However, a judge could consider his cooperation to give a lighter sentence.

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Esther L. Steinbach