Updated: May 19
Marjorie Taylor Greene is still allowed to speak on the House floor. Today she made a little speech in which she told her fellow congressional seditionists that "The people who breached the Capitol on January 6 are being abused." Nice when our congressional representatives are concerned about their constituents' well-being. Matt Gaetz and Greene are still running around the country raising money with their circus routine that began with a bund rally at a Sumter County, Florida home for the criminally insane northwest of Orlando and will next appear in Kyrsten Sinema's old congressional district on Friday, although many people are wondering why the Marriott Hotel is hosting neo-fascist events on their Mesa property. It's free to get in-- contributions are voluntary, like at church-- so if you're planning to protest there or disrupt it, be sure to arrive before the 6:30 start time. Lately, Gaetz and Greene have teamed up with 2 fellow pro-insurrection House sociopaths of the Arizona variety, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, to back the Nazi Ninja Turtle fake-recount of Maricopa County 2020 presidential ballots.
Of course, if Gaetz is arrested tomorrow or Thursday, there is no indication whether the whole thing in Mesa will be cancelled or if Greene will adopt a show must go on attitude and do the whole act on her own. This morning Vanity Fair's Bess Levin explained why Gaetz's incarceration is getting closer by the day. On Monday, Gaetz's partner in crime, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg (R), plead guilty to 6 counts including sex trafficking a minor and wire fraud-- down from 33 original charges, presumably in return for his cooperation in putting Gaetz behind bars. Greenberg is pleading guilty to crimes that come with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 12 years in prison.
Levin admits that she isn't an attorney but wrote that "it certainly seems as though one would have to bring something big-- like, say, evidence a member of Congress committed a host of crimes-- to get prosecutors to whittle one’s charges down from 33 to just 6. According to the Washington Post, the government also agreed to recommend other potential sentencing breaks, wherein a judge could choose to ignore the minimum required sentence, and Greenberg could get less than 12 years. That is, if he is determined to have provided 'substantial assistance.'"
While the plea agreement did not identify Gaetz by name, it laid out how Greenberg paid women for sex not just with him but unnamed “others.” According to the Washington Post, Gaetz repeatedly boasted of the “access to women that Joel provided him.” And as the New York Times reported back in March, the Department of Justice only began to look into allegations that Gaetz had compensated women for sex and slept with a minor, who he also allegedly transported across state lines, as it was investigating Greenberg, whom Gaetz met in 2017. At that point, the duo proceeded to allegedly commit a bunch of sex crimes together, for which they seemingly left a digital paper trail on Venmo and other online payment platforms.
Earlier this month, the Daily Beast reported that Greenberg had written a “confession” letter, in the hopes of obtaining a pardon from Donald Trump via Roger Stone, in which he admitted facilitating Gaetz’s interactions with the women and paying them on the congressman’s behalf. In April, after news broke that Greenberg would likely cooperate with the feds, reporters asked his lawyer, Fritz Scheller, “Does Matt Gaetz have anything to worry about?” After bursting out laughing, Scheller responded, “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.” On Monday, Scheller declined to say what Greenberg’s plea would mean for Gaetz, only offering: “To paraphrase The Matrix, the plea agreement has a path, Mr. Greenberg just has to walk the path.”
By the way, the Gaetz part of the trial isn't just going to be about his ex trafficking of minors. There are also several bribery cases that look pretty solid, one in regard to the Florida marijuana industry, which appears to have found a friend in the crackpot Panhandle Trumpist. Earlier this month, the AP reported that "What began as an inquiry into sex trafficking and whether Gaetz paid women and an underage girl in exchange for sex has grown into a larger review of public corruption, according to people familiar with the investigation. Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether [Gaetz campaign donor Dr Jason] Pirozzolo and others sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored. The investigation includes legislation from 2018, when Gaetz was in Congress, and earlier work in the Legislature."
Some of the 1/6 insurrectionists that Gaetz supports have come up with an interesting defense, severe mental impairment + Trump... and maybe Gaetz can use it in his own trial. It seems to fit.