California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu is demanding GOP leaders kick Rep. Matt Gaetz off the House Judiciary Committee after the release of a stunning ‘confession’ letter purportedly penned by a Gaetz associate who claims he and the Florida lawmaker paid for sex with a prostitute who was 17 at the time.
The claims by Gaetz’ so-called wingman Joel Greenberg emerged Thursday night as the latest chapter in a convoluted saga where Greenberg reportedly sought help from Gaetz in securing a pardon from former President Donald Trump in the last days of his administration – and included the astonishing allegations about Gaetz, a prominent Trump loyalist.
‘Dear @GOPLeader: Please remove Rep Matt Gaetz from the House Judiciary Committee immediately,’ Lieu tweeted Thursday night following a DailyBeast report on the allegations.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., who served as an impeachment manager during the second impeachment of President Trump, is calling on Rep. Matt Gaetz to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee. He sent his demand to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the leak of a ‘confession’ by Gaetz associated Joel Greenberg
‘The Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice that is investigating Rep Gaetz, including allegedly for sex crimes with a minor. This is an untenable conflict of interest,’ he wrote.
His tweet tagged House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Gaetz serves on two subcommittees, dealing with commercial and administrative law, and with the courts, intellectual property, and the Internet.
He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
Early this month, following the initial emergence of allegations against Gaetz, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the lawmaker should be kicked off the panel if the allegations are true.
‘If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done,’ she said. ‘From what we’ve heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee.’
That comment came before the emergence of the bombshell ‘confession’ letter from Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector who has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges against him in a sex trafficking and identity theft probe.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on Gaetz to lose his committee posts if allegations against him are true
New messages between Stone and Greenberg allegedly show that the disgraced tax collector was willing to pay Trump’s longtime friend – a convicted felon – $250,000 in bitcoin to help secure the pardon, the Daily Beast reported on Thursday.
The bombshell letter is said to have been given to Donald Trump’s confidante Roger Stone in a bid to get a pardon from the then-President.
One message – said to be from Stone – indicates Gaetz had privately turned on Greenberg and had advised Stone not to secure the pardon for Greenberg, the news website has claimed.
Another message reported to have been sent by Greenberg allegedly said he was pressured to ‘flip’ and cooperate with prosecutors.
‘On more than one occasion, [the 17-year-old] was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,’ Greenberg wrote in the letter, according to Daily Beast.
Matt Gaetz’ so-called wingman Joel Greenberg penned a letter confessing that the pair allegedly paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl, it has been claimed
Matt Gaetz, center, is pictured with Roger Stone, left, and Joel Greenberg
Gaetz has repeatedly denied having sex with a 17-year-old and said he has never paid for sex
Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and his girlfriend Ginger Luckey enter ‘Women for American First’ event, Friday, April 9, 2021
The outlet says it obtained multiple drafts of the letter and had them evaluated by Wendy Carlson – a certified forensic document examiner and handwriting expert.
The Daily Beast has not shared copies of the letter itself, and DailyMail.com has been unable to verify its contents.
A spokesman for Gaetz vehemently denied the Daily Beast story after it was published, telling CNN: ‘Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 17 year old as an adult.
‘Politico has reported Mr. Greenberg’s threats to make false accusations against others, and while The Daily Beast’s story contains a lot of confessions from Mr. Greenberg, it does not add anything of substance, and certainly no evidence for the wild and false claims about Rep. Gaetz.
‘In fact, the story goes some way to showing how Rep. Gaetz was long out of touch with Mr. Greenberg, and had no interest in involving himself in Mr. Greenberg’s affairs.’
Greenberg’s lawyer has refused to comment on the latest allegations, while Roger Stone has also questioned their accuracy.
He denied offering to help Greenberg, said he did not take any money, did not know of the existence of the alleged confession, and had never previously heard of Greenberg implicating Gaetz.
Stone added that texts seen by the Daily Beast are incomplete, and that he did not try to get Gaetz a pardon.
The Florida age of consent is 18 years old and sexual intercourse with anyone under 18 is statutory rape. However, the state has a so-called Romeo and Juliet law that allows minors who are 16 or 17 to have sex with someone who is at most 23 years old. Gaetz is 38.
Gaetz has not been criminally charged by federal prosecutors and has always denied having had sex with the underage girl.
‘From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman,’ Greenberg alleged.
Gaetz, center, and Greenberg are pictured together outside of the White House
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida poses with President Donald Trump in photos from his official Facebook page
Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg leaves the federal courthouse in Orlando after making a first appearance following his indictment on a federal stalking charge
Joel Greenberg, a central figure in the ongoing investigation into Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, is likely to strike a plea deal with federal prosecutors, his attorney and prosecutors said
Greenberg and Stone’s alleged messages, which would refer to Matt Gaetz as ‘MG,’ are said to have been sent on the encrypted messaging app Signal, but were apparently screenshoted by Greenberg, according to Daily Beast.
Greenberg was out of jail at the time the messages were sent after he was arrested in June 2020 on stalking charges. He now faces dozens of new charges including sex trafficking of the 17-year-old, cryptocurrency fraud, and identity theft.
‘If I get you $250k in Bitcoin would that help or is this not a financial matter,’ Greenberg allegedly wrote to Stone in one message
‘I understand all of this and have taken it into consideration,’ Stone is said to have replied. ‘I will know more in the next 24 hours I cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.’
‘I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident,’ Stone is then said to have wrote to Greenberg on January 13 – the same day Trump was impeached for the second time during his one-term presidency, which ended seven days later.
TIMELINE OF THE GAETZ SAGA
MARCH 30: The New York Times reports that Gaetz is under investigation for a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Details are sparse but the relationship is said to have happened two years ago.
Gaetz went on Tucker Carlson’s FOX News show that night to deny the allegations and claim he was the victim of an extortion plot.
He names David McGee as a DoJ official who is extorting him. McGee denies it.
MARCH 31: Gaetz’s father Don tells Politico that the extortion plot is real and that he was working with his son and the FBI to expose it
APRIL 1: Texts emerge to support Gaetz’s claim that he was being extorted and they introduce a new element to the saga – that the extortion plot was part of a ruse to rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran.
Rep Matt Gaetz
Gaetz, 38, is the representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district.
He is a Trump ally who has ties to Roger Stone and he’s been known to fan the flames of controversy in the past.
He has DUI convictions, has been accused of inciting violence on Twitter and claimed that facial recognition technology proved some of the January 6 Capitol rioters were not Trump fans, but ‘antifa’ masquerading as them.
Gaetz’s father who was a well-liked Senator. He sold his company with his partners for $406million in 2004.
They had founded VITAS Healthcare in the 1980s. He was a senator for ten years from 2006 until 2016.
McGee was a prosecutor with the Department of Justice but he is now a private practice attorney.
According to his bio on his law firm’s website, he spent six years as the First Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office and for seven years as the Lead Attorney for a United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Task Force.
Kent is an Air Force intelligence officer whose involvement in the alleged plot was only revealed on Wednesday night through the texts.
Levinson spent 22 years working for the FBI before he vanished in Iran in 2007. The government claimed they knew nothing about it but later admitted he had been working there for the CIA.
The last time he was seen alive was in 2011, when he appeared in proof of life photos. His family say that this month, they were given reason to believe he was dead.
Stone confirmed to the Daily Beast that Greenberg had tried to hire him. However, Stone denied being paid or that he helped Greenberg beyond instructing him to prepare ‘a document explaining his prosecution.’
‘I made no formal or informal effort in regard to a pardon for Mr. Greenberg,’ Stone told the outlet. ‘I recall requesting a document explaining his prosecution The [sic] details of which I was unfamiliar with.’
He added: ‘I never requested or received a penny from Mr. Greenberg. I recall him offering to retain me and I declined. To be clear I did advocate pardons for a number of people who I had [sic] been unfairly treated by the justice system and was compensated by no one for doing so.’
Stone then urged the outlet to be careful with its reporting and threatened to take legal action ‘in the event that you publish anything that is false or defamatory.’
‘My lawyers that I fired, know the whole story about MG’s involvement. They know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and I both had sex with the girl who was underage,’ Greenberg allegedly wrote to Stone on December 21.
However, in his alleged confession, Greenberg claimed that he and Gaetz believed the teen girl was 19 – above the age of consent – before they allegedly had sex with her.
Greenberg reportedly claims ‘an anonymous tip’ on September 4, 2017 informed him that the girl was underage and that Gaetz was ‘equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation,’ it was alleged.
‘Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage,’ Greenberg allegedly wrote.
Greenberg is said to have alleged that the girl had lied about her age and that he confronted her about the ‘serious’ situation. He claimed he explained to her ‘how serious of a situation this was, how many people she put in danger,’ according to Daily Beast.
‘She apologized and recognized that by lying about her age, she endangered many people,’ Greenberg allegedly wrote.
‘There was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday.’
Greenberg reestablished contact with the girl about five months after she turned 18 when Gaetz allegedly told him to ‘hit up’ the teen, Daily Beast reported.
The outlet claims it talked to 12 of the more than 40 different women who allegedly received money from Greenberg and ‘they all said they understood Greenberg was paying them at least in part for sex.’
Logan Circle Group, a public relations firm Gaetz has hired, provided a statement to Daily Beast on behalf of the Florida congressman.
‘Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex nor has he had sex with a 17-year-old as an adult. We are now one month after your outlet and others first reported such lies, and no one has gone on record to directly accuse him of either,’ it reads.
The firm’s statement noted a recent article in Politico which reported that an associate of Greenberg said he had warned friends that ‘everyone is going to need a lawyer.’
‘Politico, however, has reported Mr. Greenberg threatening to make false accusations against others, which seems noteworthy for your story and in fact sounds like the entirety of your story,’ Logan Circle Group said.
‘Congressman Gaetz has had no role in advocating for or against a pardon for Greenberg and doubts such a pardon was ever even considered.’
During the alleged months-long communications via Signal, Stone is said to have asked Greenberg to put his case forward, and appeared to try and damp down expectations when Greenberg expressed his hopes of a pardon, according to the newly-shared communications.
Greenberg is said to have eventually told Stone on December 21 that investigators were pressuring him to cooperate, including the ‘FBI, DOJ, Secret Service and a bunch of people from DC,’ but he declined, Daily Beast reported.
‘They want me to flip. They have made offers which I’ve declined. I even fired my lawyers this week because they tried to convince me to cooperate and that a pardon was impossible,’ Greenberg allegedly said, while noting that his former lawyers had called his story a ‘golden ticket.’
Greenberg is then said to have continued: ‘And while I have not had any communication with MG, he absolutely has to know that the sex charge they hit me with would be what they would hit him with.’
He also told Stone that he felt ‘abandoned’ by his allies and asked Gaetz if he thought ‘MG is going to come visit me in prison?’, it is claimed.
Just two days later, Stone received his own pardon from Trump but Greenberg came out empty-handed – even after his name ‘repeatedly made it to the Trump White House for a presidential pardon,’ the Daily Beast reported.