Wanna Read Gaetz Buddy Joel Greenberg's Secret WhatsApps? Wait, Where Are You Going?
When we last left our hero, he was trying and failing to get an audience with a king in the royal chambers at the palace of Mar-a-Lago, and his crack PR team was saying SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP, our hero is NOT EITHER trying and failing to do that SHUT UP!
Before that, we
told you on Friday about our hero's Venmo receipts, where GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz would allegedly send money to his pal Joel Greenberg and say "Hit up ________." To be clear, _________ would be a very young woman's name, and then magically Greenberg would Venmo those exact same amounts to ________ for "school" or "tuition," allegedly. It was totally normal!
Anyway, last week, Greenberg's lawyer said he and his client were getting close to making a deal on the eleventy-seven counts Greenberg is charged with, including allegations that one of the girlfriends the two wild and crazy guys reportedly "shared," one of the people they may have paid in a roundabout way for sex, and may have even transported across state lines, was under 18 at the time, which would be, ahem, sex trafficking. As we understand it, that person is the same person as "Hit up _________."
Look, there's just a lot, and it's nigh impossible to keep up with the waterfalls of information and allegations coming out of Matt Gaetz's Fantastical WeenerPeener Lagoon.
Let's just read WhatsApp chats between Greenberg and another dude, right before Greenberg was indicted, because Politico has those.
It was August 14, and Greenberg was freaked out about his impending legal issues, and was reportedly WhatsApp-ing everybody he could to help fix it. And he was very worried because the stinky feds had his Venmos!
He fumed that the prosecutor should be fired. He suspected that a political consultant "was the rat here." He fretted that investigators had combed through his Venmo cash app history, fearing it led them to the former teen at the center of the case.
Greenberg also said he was paying the legal fees for the woman, who is now 20 years old.
Oh, he was paying her legal fees! Interesting. As Politico notes, this is not illegal per se, but it is definitely weird.
"The woman" is now 20, but she was 17 when whatever it was went down. Politico reports that there was a code name for the young person in question, and it was "Vintage 99," which was the name she used on SeekingArrangement, the website where "sugar daddies" like Greenberg and Gaetz would find "dates." To be clear, "99" was the year she was born.
"I'm having to pay for vintage 99 to retain [a] lawyer," Greenberg wrote in the WhatsApp chat to the friend, who discussed the messages with POLITICO on condition of anonymity. "They [federal agents] contacted her and are wanting her to talk. She doesn't want to talk to them."
She reportedly doesn't want to talk to the press either.
According to a friend of these guys who talked to Politico, though, we all have the wrong idea, because even if there is a Venmo money trail and even if it looks real bad, this is definitely not prostitution, unless you are some kind of Puritan, what are you, some kind of Puritan?
One friend who spent time in the company of both men said he was of the impression that the two engaged with women in more of a "sugar daddy relationship" where money changed hands, though it wasn't explicitly prostitution.
"I know Joel and Matt paid some of their bills, rent, tuition, things like that," the friend said. "This is a thing that happens when you're successful and you have these relationships: 'Are we not supposed to help these women who mean something to us and that we care about?' Is that prostitution? Maybe if you're a Puritan."
This is just what happens when you are a thirty-something congressman and his very normal "wingman" who's now indicted for sex trafficking of a child and stalking and aggravated identity theft and bribery and wire fraud and theft of government property and whatever else. You HELP these women. You CARE about them. You pay their rent, their bills, and their tuition, unless you are some kind of Puritan!
But back to the friend Joel Greenberg WhatsApped on August 14. Apparently Greenberg told this guy that "everyone is going to need a lawyer." But that friend picked up the phone and called Greenberg's lawyer and came away with the impression that actually Greenberg was full of shit. So he messaged Greenberg back and said "NOT. FUCKING. COOL."
"I have nothing to do with any of this and think it is incredibly uncool you are trying to lawyer me up to be a part of it, Joel," he wrote back via WhatsApp. "Not. F---ing. Cool."
The friend told POLITICO that Greenberg's message "felt like a setup."
"It's the same playbook he used against the teacher he falsely smeared as a pedophile," the friend said, referring to a separate charge against Greenberg. "And he'll do the same thing to Gaetz if he can get less prison time."
Sounds like all these people are remaining very loyal to each other!
But Greenberg was just very freaked out, and he was pretty sure that since so much of whatever this was went down on Venmo, and the feds had the Venmos, then he needed to let everybody know, in case there was a Venmo that the feds might consider "evidence," like a common Puritan!
"I'm trying to let everyone know who came into contact with any of these girls that the feds are going through my Venmo history and don't want anyone to be caught off guard," Greenberg wrote to his friend, who promptly replied that he wasn't on Venmo, had no such history with any of these women and begged him to "absolutely positively leave my name the f--- out of any of this. I'm serious about this Joel."
"Understood," Greenberg replied. "My only concern is I don't know what could possibly come out of their mouths, and if any of them mentioned places where we met etc. I would think you would want to at least have a heads up if some chick says she partied at your house or something. That's all. I'm trying to cover every possible angle I can think of. I wouldn't want anyone to be blindsided."
He's just trying to look out for people. Because that's the kind of friend he is. So, you know, just in case any of his friends "partied" with any of these women ...
Also according to Politico's sources, Greenberg was begging Gaetz to get him a pardon from Donald Trump, who was still at that time in charge of doling out pardons, before he unceremoniously became Not President Anymore. Gaetz says, for the record, that he didn't ask Trump for a pardon for Greenberg, and we have no fucking idea what twists and turns this story will take next, guess we'll all just have to find out together, THE END.
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