Law enforcement is very, very, very tepid about prosecuting lawmakers, especially mouthy ones-- and not just Trump. Many people are confused about why Florida sex trafficker Matt Gaetz is still running around lose. There was finally a new development in the case-- or at least near the case. Follow along if you can:
Admitted corrupt Florida tax official Joel Greenberg-- Gaetz's wingman who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking, charges last May-- had his own wingman, former Florida shock jock Joseph "Big Joe" Ellicott. On Monday Ellicott pleaded guilty to bribing a tax official and selling drugs. That's part of a plea deal to cooperate with the Feds meticulously building their potentially explosive sex trafficking case against Gaetz. "Last year, the Daily Beast revealed that Ellicott knew intimate details about the teenage girl who was paid for sex by the group-- and actually texted what essentially amounted to a confession that they were scrambling to try and coverup details about their sex with a 17-year-old from the feds. Ellicott was particularly legally exposed through his involvement with Greenberg, who ran the small Central Florida tax agency like a fiefdom where he hired his friends for no-show jobs. That appears to be what took Ellicott down."
In court documents last week, Ellicott was accused of fraud for agreeing to “pay bribes and kickbacks” to a public official and a separate drug crime: illegally selling the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prescription medicine Adderall. On Jan. 18, Ellicott signed a plea agreement admitting to both crimes.
According to prosecutors, Ellicott was the intermediary in the kickback arrangement, carrying a $6,000 cash bribe from an unnamed tax office contractor to a Public Official-- Greenberg. In exchange for the bribe, Greenberg and the contractor worked out a deal where the contractor inflated invoices for work with the tax office, pocketing the difference.
Ellicott also copped to selling a single unnamed client more than $5,000 worth of Adderall over the course of two years. The client made the payments to Ellicott’s company, “Uncle Joe’s Coins,” and transferred money via check and Venmo, according to the agreement. One $95 Venmo payment was disguised as “2 hour full body massage.”
Matt Zapotosky reporting for the Washington Post, spoke with Ellicott's attorney, Joe Zwick, who told him that "those events were 'basically like what you’d expect at a college frat party,' adding that Ellicott witnessed 'sex, drugs-- a whole lot of it.' But he declined to say whether Ellicott personally observed Gaetz using drugs or having or paying for sex, or committing any crimes. 'He observed a lot of behavior that, if anybody saw it, would not think that it was the behavior you would expect from a U.S. congressman,' Zwick said... 'We’re at the government’s mercy, at this point, being a cooperating witness.'"
The feds have managed to make this case so drawn out, complicated, convoluted and boring that almost no one cares about it any longer and it is now just another partisan disagreement, Democrats vaguely clamoring for Gaetz's head, Republicans more-or-less claiming that Gaetz has been completely exonerated and that it was all just one big smear job.