Sounds Like Matt Gaetz's Yucky 'Wingman' Has Been Cooperating For A Hot Minute Now!
Two big stories broke out of Matt Gaetz's pants last night, are you ready?
First of all, the New York Times says Joel Greenberg, Gaetz's wingman, the man who apparently looked up to Gaetz as a hero — how low on the ladder of life do you have to be to look UP and see Matt Gaetz? — is definitely absolutely cooperating with the feds. According to the Times, it's not he might be about to flip, like we thought it was the other day. It's not just "I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," like Greenberg's lawyer said outside court last week. Sounds to us like Gaetz has probably had quite a few bad days lately.
If the Times is correct, Greenberg is already cooperating, and reportedly has been for quite a long time, and what's happening right now is that his plea deal is being finalized.
A former local official in Florida indicted in the Justice Department investigation that is also focused on Representative Matt Gaetz has been providing investigators with information since last year about an array of topics, including Mr. Gaetz's activities, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Joel Greenberg, a onetime county tax collector, disclosed to investigators that he and Mr. Gaetz had encounters with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex, the people said. The Justice Department is investigating the involvement of the men with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments and whether the men had sex with a 17-year-old in violation of sex trafficking statutes, people familiar with the inquiry have said.
The Times's sources say Greenberg "began speaking with investigators once he realized that the government had overwhelming evidence against him and that his only path to leniency lay in cooperation." Not that any of this is likely to get Greenberg entirely off the hook with the feds if he secures a plea deal, as the Times notes that if he pleads guilty to the sex trafficking charge, there's a mandatory minimum of 10 years on that one, as well as a two-year mandatory minimum on identity theft.
Of course, we'd have to see what Greenberg actually has to plead to in any deal. The Timesflags a 2010 article written by Fritz Scheller, the Greenberg lawyer who said the thing about Matt Gaetz not feeling very comfortable today, where he explained he doesn't like cooperation agreements like we might end up with here, where the only way for a defendant to get around mandatory minimums is to spill it on everybody they know and hope for the best.
Regardless, point is that it sounds like Greenberg's cooperation is a lot further along than we thought.
Gaetz, of course, continues to deny he did anything wrong, and his
attack shih tzu PR dude Harlan Hill sneered to the Times that Greenberg was "trying to ensnare innocent people in his troubles." Guess we'll find out when we actually get to read some court documents about this investigation.
And now SECOND OF ALL!
Second of all is that Politico, which has really been up this story's ass, got more shit on that mysterious trip to the Bahamas that Gaetz took in fall of 2018 with some combination of dude-bro friends and very young women, and how key it is to the Justice Department's look-see into Gaetz's extracurricular activities. Remember when we joked after the report about Gaetz sharing nudies on the House floor that maybe the FBI should go get his Obamaphone? Apparently they already did, this past winter!
Gaetz's predicament as the subject of a serious investigation became clearer this winter when federal agents executed a search warrant and seized his iPhone, according to interviews with three people who were told of the matter by Gaetz, who changed his phone number in late December. Around that time, the sources said, federal agents also seized his former girlfriend's phone before she went into work in the morning. She declined comment.
That's what we meant when we said sounds like Gaetz might have had a lot of bad days lately.
In a recent Wonkette update on PeenerGaetz, we noted that Gaetz's companions on that trip were Halsey Beshears, who at the time was a Florida state legislator, and Jason Pirozzolo, whom Wonkette nicknamed "Dr. Handjob," on account of how he is a surgeon of hands. Pirozzolo has ties to current Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis. (We must also note that "Halsey Beshears" is the most southern white name we have heard in a while, and we hear a lot of them, being southern.)
Also among those on the trip: the former minor who is key to the investigation, whose presence on the trip was previously unreported. According to one of the women in the group who spoke on condition of anonymity, everyone on the trip was over the age of 18 — including the woman in question, who had turned 18 years old months before the trip, she said.
Oh, so she was there. And there's some confusion over whether or not she had turned 18 at the time. Politico says she "was born in December 1999, according to a personal website," but that they've been "unable to confirm the woman's official date of birth." If this trip was in September 2018, and if that birth month and year are correct, she would indeed have been 18. Politico's source also says nobody on that trip did any prostitution.
But questions surrounding the ages of some of the women surfaced immediately upon their return — three of them looked so young when they returned on Beshears' private plane that U.S. Customs briefly stopped and questioned him, according to sources familiar with the trip, including a woman on the flight.
And where was Greenberg on that trip? Politico's sources say he wasn't invited to the Bahamas, because he was in a fight with Pirozzolo's girlfriend or something. So that's all very fascinating.
Anyway, besides Greenberg apparently, it sounds like nobody else is answering any questions about any of this, not Gaetz, not Pirozzolo, not Beshears, not the woman in question. Which is unfortunate, because "as one of at least five women who went on the Bahamas trip with Gaetz," Politico notes, "she could shed light on details that would be key to a prosecution under the Mann Act, which forbids transporting people of any age across state lines for purposes of prostitution."
So that's where we are.
Hey, you know what? Wonkette's gonna sum it all up for you, you ready for Wonkette to sum it up for you? Wonkette's gonna sum it all up. We're not going to know any of this for sure until the Department of Justice types it all out for us in some kind of document.
In other words, indict the motherfucker or don't, we're getting bored.
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