ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A key associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is seeking to delay his sentencing so that he can keep cooperating in a broader sex trafficking investigation.
Court documents filed Tuesday show that the lawyer for Joel Greenberg wants his sentencing postponed for 90 days. Greenberg pleaded guilty in May to sex trafficking of a minor and five other charges, among the nearly three dozen he faced.
Greenberg’s sentencing hearing is currently set for Aug. 19. In the court papers, defense attorney Fritz Scheller said the additional three months are crucial to finish Greenberg’s cooperation with investigators.
“Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed by the time of his sentencing,” Scheller wrote.
Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, currently faces an estimated 12 years in prison, his lawyer noted. Greenberg, 36, also pleaded guilty to identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy.
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 Gaetz’s supposed pay-for-sex relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
While not mentioning Gaetz by name, in his plea deal Greenberg said he “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.”
Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and has said repeatedly he will not resign from Congress. No charges have been brought against Gaetz.
Greenberg has been linked to a number of other Florida politicians and their associates. So far, none of them have been implicated by name in the sex trafficking probe.
The Greenberg plea agreement says that he admitted being “involved in what are sometimes referred to as ‘sugar daddy’ relationships where he paid women for sex, but attempted to disguise the payments as ‘school-related’ expenses or other living expenses.”
A federal judge in Orlando did not immediately rule on Greenberg’s request for a delay. Scheller said in the court documents that prosecutors do not oppose it.