On April 5, Whatsapp text messages obtained by Politico revealed that the person involved with the then 17-year-old girl was not Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) but his ex-friend Joel Greenberg.
Gaetz, an outspoken Trump supporter, was facing consecutive allegations from the media, claiming he was having a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. But as time rolls by, the congressman’s scandal had no substance and were merely accusations.
“The congressman has not been charged, and so far no evidence has surfaced against him beyond anonymous allegations he had sex with a minor or paid for prostitutes,” states Politico.
Ex-GOP official Joel Greenberg had to resign from his position as Florida county tax collector for stalking and child sex trafficking charges. Greenberg has become a key player in Gaetz’s indictment process.
According to the Whatsapp chat obtained by Politico last year, on Aug. 14, Greenberg was five days away from a federal indictment for sex trafficking involving a 17-year-old. The chats reviewed; he was seeking mutual friends to enlist their assistance in his protection.
The conversation included a part when Greenberg was losing it with the prosecutor, demanding a discharge, while suspecting that “the rat” who uncovered his misconduct was a political consultant. He attributed his history with the mobile payment service Venmo app as the loophole that led investigators to discover the 17-year-old girl.
The 17-year-old girl was receiving legal payment from Greenberg, the outlet reviewed.
The Whatsapp extract on Aug. 14 showed that Greenberg was chatting with a mutual friend of himself and Gaetz, saying, “I’m having to pay for vintage 99 to retain [a] lawyer. They [federal agents] contacted her and are wanting her to talk. She doesn’t want to talk to them.”
POLITICO explained that “Vintage 99” was the girl’s code name in which 99 stands for her birth year. This is her name account on SeekingArrangement, a dating app that helps girls find “sugar daddy.”
Allegedly, Greenberg was trying to force a friend’s help to get away with charges of prostitution transaction.
In the extracted conversation, he lied to a friend that his attorney advised that everyone needed “to get a lawyer.” The friend replied, conscious of Greenberg’s tactic, “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.”
“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 continued.
As his friend denied he had any association with the Venmo app and begged Greenberg to “absolutely positively leave my name the f— out of any of this.” Greenberg replied that he was giving his friend the courtesy of a “heads up,” insinuating that his friend may have had a relationship with the girls on SeekingArrangement. “I’m trying to cover every possible angle I can think of; I wouldn’t want anyone to be blindsided.”
The friend later told Politico the message had a pungent set-up scheme scent. He insisted on non-involvement with whatever Greenberg was hinting.
“It’s the same playbook he used against the teacher he falsely smeared as a pedophile,” the Republican on the other end of the WhatsApp conversation. He referred to the stalking charges against Greenberg and linking to Greenberg’s usual plot to reduce his sentence. “And he’ll do the same thing to Gaetz if he can get less prison time.”
According to Orlando Sentinel, by April 9, Greenberg has been subjected to 33 federal charges for stealing taxpayer money, bribery of a public official, theft of government property, and wire fraud. He is also indicted for his “sugar daddy” relationship with the same 17-year-old girl Gaetz was baselessly accused of having an inappropriate relationship.
Meanwhile, the outlet also noted that Greenberg was using his close ally Gaetz, pushing him to use his leverage with Trump to get a pardon. Gaetz remained obscure on whether the request was actual or not. On April 7, Former President Donald Trump wrote in a statement confirming that Gaetz did not ask him for any pardon.
Sources claim that Gaetz contacted Donald Trump for a pardon for himself and unidentified congressional allies. The Rep. refused these allegations, saying, “the recent false allegations against me are not something I’ve ever discussed with Trump, pardons or otherwise.”
In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Gaetz said that an ex-DOJ official took advantage of the unjustified scandal and attempted to extort his family for a sum of up to $25 million.