ORLANDO, Fla. — A lawyer for Joel Greenberg, an ally of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz who has been charged with sex trafficking involving a minor and identity theft, was granted a May 15 plea deadline Thursday in Orlando federal court, setting up what could be a plea deal for the former Seminole County tax collector.
What You Need To Know
- Joel Greenberg, charged with child sex crimes, granted May 15 plea deadline
- Former Seminole County tax collector is political ally of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz
- “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” lawyer says
- RELATED: Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign Over “False” Sex Allegations
“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Greenberg attorney Fritz Scheller said outside the federal courthouse in downtown Orlando after being asked whether the congressman is worried Greenberg might make a plea deal.
Gaetz, a Florida Republican, has been battling to preserve his political career since reports surfaced that he is under federal investigation for possible sex crimes. Gaetz has so far received almost no public support from his congressional Republican colleagues and none from former President Donald Trump, of whom Gaetz was an ardent supporter.
He has not been charged with any crimes and has denied the allegations that have surfaced.
Rep. Matt Gaetz during a House Judiciary Committee meeting in 2020 (Kevin Dietsch/AP)
Greenberg on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to almost two dozen new charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida on March 31.
On March 2, as Seminole County Sheriff’s deputies tried to arrest him for violating bond conditions, Greenberg “made suicidal comments,” threatened use of firearms and said he had “improvised explosive devices,” according to a March 3 incident report.
Greenberg stated “at various times that he would take pills… Joel also stated he had hidden several items in his anal cavity,” the report said.
During negotiations with deputies, Greenberg “opened the front door of the residence, and threw a bag full of medication out into the driveway, before retreating back into the residence and closing the door,” according to the report filed by Seminole County Deputy Jerome Grunat.
Greenberg emerged from the home “after several hours of negotiation,” the report said. Because of his suicidal threats, deputies took him to the emergency room, then to Seminole County’s John E. Polk Correctional Facility, it said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
This is a breaking news story and is being updated. Check back soon for more.