How a music teacher falsely accused of pedophilia sparked the Matt Gaetz investigation
Joel Greenberg (36) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) (38) became friends shortly after Greenberg was elected tax collector for Seminole County and Gaetz won a seat in Congress in 2016. Both men were "brazen politicians who came from families of considerable wealth and who came to power quickly," and "they also enjoyed partying and the company of women," reports the Washington Post, citing people who were both Gaetz and Know Greenberg. This latter interest - women and parties - is also the reason both men are being investigated by the federal government.
Before the government got involved in late 2019 or early 2020, Greenberg had already been on the radar of local law enforcement - among other things for allegedly misusing public funds, handing over lucrative and unnecessary contracts and government jobs to friends and allies, and posing as such a police officer running over a woman for speeding with a badge and lights on his private vehicle.
However, local police didn't begin investigating Greenberg until he tried, according to a federal indictment, to derail a GOP challenger, prep school music teacher Brian Beute, by sending his school a fraudulent message alleging , Booty had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a conversing student. Prey was handcuffed by an acquaintance of the lawyer, David Bear, who convinced the sheriff's office that whoever was behind the smear campaign had committed a crime. Bear also successfully encouraged the sheriff's office to seek help from the government, the Post reports.
"When authorities arrested Greenberg and searched his electronic records and devices - according to documents and people implicated in the case - they discovered a mixture of other alleged wrongdoings, prompting them to open an investigation into the possible sex trafficking in the one Florida Republicans were far more well known, "Gaetz told the Post. Loot thought about ditching the matter after local investigators exempted him from having sex with a college student, but "he decided against it," Bear told the Post. "All of these other things came out of that one decision for him to stand up straight."
Greenberg, who faces 33 cases including sex trafficking in a child, is reportedly working with prosecutors for some leniency. Gaetz denies the alleged focus of his investigation - paying for sex and having sex with minors across national borders - and was neither charged nor officially accused of wrongdoing. Read more about how the Washington Post case came about.
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