Judge agrees to delay in sentencing for Matt Gaetz friend

Florida

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and his wife Ginger Luckey walk through the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has agreed to push back until next year the sentencing for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s friend who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sex trafficking and other charges.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell on Monday said the sentencing for Joel Greenberg could be postponed from next month to next March. He took that step at a hearing in federal court in Orlando.

Greenberg’s attorney had asked for the delay so the former local tax collector can continue cooperating with federal authorities.

Prosecutors agreed to the postponement. Gaetz was not mentioned in Greenberg’s plea agreement. But Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an ongoing investigation into Gaetz.

Greenberg is facing up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty last May to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a child, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official.

Greenberg’s plea agreement with prosecutors requires continued cooperation with an ongoing probe into sex trafficking.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, was not mentioned in Greenberg’s plea agreement. But Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an ongoing investigation into whether Gaetz paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. Gaetz has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot.

Matt Gaetz’s father is Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida Senate. Others who approached Don Gaetz have said in news reports that they wanted to free Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago.

An attorney for Alford did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment. According to court records, Alford has previous fraud convictions, including a 2006 judgment where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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