(WASHINGTON) — Joel Greenberg, a one-time close friend of Rep. Matt Gaetz who was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including federal sex trafficking, is cooperating with the House Ethics Committee probe into the Florida congressman, sources familiar with the committee’s work tell ABC News.
Greenberg, who is currently in prison, served as a top witness in the Justice Department’s years-long probe into Gaetz that concluded with the DOJ’s decision not to being charges against him.
Greenberg has been in contact with the Ethics Committee for weeks and has provided documents related to the case, sources told ABC News.
The New York Times was first to report Greenberg’s cooperation with the committee.
The House investigation, which was reopened last summer, continues to ramp up, as the committee in recent weeks has contacted multiple new witnesses as part of its ongoing investigation into the Florida congressman, sources said.
In a statement, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller told ABC News that Greenberg “has and will cooperate with any congressional request.”
“In a functioning democracy, he has no other choice,” Scheller said. “One would hope that the Department of Justice shares in such a perspective. But then again, hope is the quintessential human delusion. Regardless, the documents provided to Congress are not subject to any investigative privilege since they were not provided to the defense by the DOJ.”
Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing. In a statement, a spokesperson for the congressman said, “The DOJ received the same material, deemed it unreliable, and declined to press charges. The press should not be laundering smears from people in prison.”
Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector, reached a deal with investigators in May 2021 in which he pleaded guilty to multiple federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a minor and introducing her to other “adult men” who also had sex with her when she was underage.
He also agreed to provide “substantial assistance” to DOJ prosecutors as part of their ongoing investigation into Gaetz and others, according to sources familiar with the arrangement.
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