Prosecutor Says Matt Gaetz’s Best Defense Is Blaming ‘One-Man Criminal Enterprise’ Joel Greenberg: ‘He’s Like The Joker Without the Cool Makeup’
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg told MSNBC’s Ari Melber that he thought embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) best defense may be to blame Joel Greenberg, who he referred to as a “one-man criminal enterprise” and “like The Joker without the cool makeup.”
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing, but earlier this year he confirmed that the Department of Justice is investigating him regarding some of the alleged crimes committed by Greenberg, who is facing a 33-count federal indictment. Greenberg, the former Seminole County (Florida) Tax Collector, is reportedly cooperating with the DOJ in order to get a lighter sentence, which may mean he is working out a deal to testify against Gaetz.
Gaetz’s claimed defenses may not be as strong as he hopes, said Aronberg. “If you take everything that Matt Gaetz says at face value and assume it’s true, that he’s never had sex with an underaged girl and that he has never paid for sex, even then he could still be charged with child sex trafficking because the statute is so broad.”
All that prosecutors would have to prove, explained Aronberg, is that Gaetz was “part of the venture” with Greenberg. “If he picked her up at the airport, if he paid for a hotel room, if he in any way enticed a minor into having sex with Joel Greenberg, he could be charged. If he was involved with giving her drugs to entice her to have sex with Greenberg, he could be charged.”
Gaetz allegedly sent $900 to Greenberg using the payment app Venmo, shortly before Greenberg paid that exact same amount to several young women, and additional reporting has uncovered additional Venmo payments and connections between Gaetz, Greenberg, and the women.
Greenberg “has every incentive to give up the ghost,” said Aronberg. “It’s his lifeline. He’s facing up to life in prison. Why wouldn’t he want to turn on the bigger fish?”
Melber asked Aronberg what he thought about how some Gaetz allies were denouncing the DOJ investigation as a fishing expedition to bring down Gaetz, saying Greenberg would be an unreliable witness.
“That is Gaetz’s best defense, in my opinion,” said Aronberg, to blame Greenberg if the case ever went to trial. “He has a big target. Joel Greenberg is a one-man criminal enterprise. He’s like The Joker without the cool makeup. This guy has been involved in so many different crimes, he makes a good foil for Matt Gaetz. And a jury could believe him.”
“After all, Greenberg is currently being charged with trying to smear a political opponent by saying that person is a pedophile,” concluded Aronberg. “Well, isn’t that sort of what he’s doing here to Matt Gaetz? That’s what Gaetz will say, ‘This is Greenberg 2.0.’ And it may work with a jury.”
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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