It looks like pardon-seeking Florida man, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), might get off. So-called “career prosecutors” have recommended that the Trump loyalist not be charged in the Justice Department’s investigation into him for alleged sex trafficking.
The Washington Post reported that anonymous veteran prosecutors told DOJ superiors that “a conviction is unlikely.” The credibility of the government’s top two witnesses is “questionable,” according to sources close to the matter.
Senior department officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz, but it is rare for such advice to be rejected, these people told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations.
The Department of Justice opened its 2020 investigation of the Panhandle politician after his then-friend, former Seminole County tax collector, Joel Greenberg was charged earlier the same year with “fabricating allegations and evidence to smear a political opponent.”
Greenberg engaged in a smear campaign against prep-school teacher Brian Beute, the opponent who could derail his re-election bid.
The controversial “friend of Gaetz” falsely accused Beute of being a racist and having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student. According to the Associated Press:
He was arrested on charges of stalking Beute, who had publicly criticized Greenberg’s behavior and said he planned to run against the tax collector. Greenberg mailed fake letters to Beute’s school signed by a nonexistent “very concerned student” who alleged the opponent had engaged in sexual misconduct with another student, according to an indictment from last June.
The former tax collector also used his opponent’s name and photo to create a fake Twitter account on which he posted statements in favor of white supremacy and created a fake Facebook account in which he posed as a “very concerned teacher” who repeated the allegation about sexual misconduct with the student, the indictment said.
As the feds furthered their investigation, it led them to charge Greenberg with additional crimes and inquire about his friendship with the congressman. Originally facing a 33-count indictment, the former tax collector pled guilty to six criminal charges including sex trafficking of a minor and wire fraud, eventually snitching on Gaetz in the process.
During the investigation, Prosecutors had been exploring whether Greenberg paid women to have sex with Gaetz and whether the two shared sexual partners, including the 17-year-old girl at issue in Greenberg’s case,” WaPo reported.
The federal investigation into Congressman Gaetz focused on three crimes: sex trafficking the 17-year-old; violating the Mann Act, which prohibits taking women across state lines for prostitution, and obstructing justice.
An ex-girlfriend testified before a grand jury in January as to the nature of her relationship with the guy who adopted a fully grown adult son and was “in talks with prosecutors for an immunity deal in exchange for testifying about whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old female for money in 2017.”
Considered a key witness, her testimony wasn’t enough to secure charges against her ex-boyfriend in the Justice Department’s investigation.
Prosecutors on the case feel that both Greenberg, and the then-minor in question, would not pass jurors’ scrutiny. When tax collector, Greenberg allowed staff to openly carry firearms in the office, misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars, and pulled over a speeding driver misrepresenting his tax collector badge, for a law enforcement one.
“Gaetz has repeatedly denied the accusations and insists he doesn’t need to “pay for sex.” He did however brag about his “wingman” Greenberg, and say that the man about town “introduced” the Rep. to women.”
Former Trump aide Johnny McEntee recently testified that though Gaetz denied wrongdoing, he sought a pardon from the then-President. McEntee said, “He did not do anything wrong, but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.”
Despite the anonymous prosecutors’ referral, the DOJ has yet to act on the recommendation, which means it’s not over until it’s over.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick