Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend 'cooperating with sex trafficking investigation' days after pal Joel Greenberg's plea deal
REP. Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend will be "cooperating with the authorities in the sex trafficking investigation."
It comes just days after his friend's Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County Tax Collector, plea agreement.
The woman who is a former Capitol Hill staffer is considered a critical witness as she has been linked to Gaetz as far back as 2017, a key period for investigators, reports CNN.
Sources told the outlet she can help investigators understand the relevance of transactions including those involving alleged payments for sex.
Earlier this week Greenberg appeared in federal court in Orlando, Florida, for a change of plea hearing at which he must provide “substantial assistance” in other federal probes and prosecutions.
In return for his assistance, prosecutors will discard 27 additional charges that were allegedly committed in his personal life during the time he was working as an elected official.
He pleaded guilty to six criminal charges including sex trafficking of a minor, and he admitted that he had paid at least one underage girl to have sex with him and other men.
Gaetz was not mentioned in the plea agreement or during the court hearing. But Greenberg’s cooperation — as a key figure in the investigation and a close ally of Gaetz — may escalate the potential legal and political liability that the firebrand Florida congressman is facing.
Federal prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Investigators have also been looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said.
Gaetz has denied the allegations and any accusation of wrongdoing and has said repeatedly he will not resign from Congress.
Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill said: "Congressman Gaetz doesn't seem to be named nor referenced in Mr. Greenberg's plea.
"Congressman Gaetz has never had sex with a minor and has never paid for sex. Mr. Greenberg has now pleaded guilty to falsely accusing someone else of sex with a minor.
"That person was innocent. So is Congressman Gaetz."
Meanwhile, two witnesses told the The Daily Beast they spotted Gaetz snorting cocaine with an escort at a fundraiser after-party two years ago.
Gaetz and amateur Instagram model and cannabis legalization spokeswoman Megan Zalonka allegedly had an ongoing relationship that involved giving her money in exchange for sex, according to the witnesses.
The incident allegedly took place in October 2019, at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando.
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