A 'cooperating witness' can now confirm Matt Gaetz was informed he'd had sex with a minor: report
The details of a damning phone call have come to light and the witness who overheard the conversation is now speaking out, according to The Daily Beast.
Former Florida shock jock, Joseph "Big Joe" Ellicott, now a witness cooperating with federal authorities, has confirmed details about a call that took place between Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and his associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla. During the call, Greenberg reportedly told Gaetz a woman they'd paid to have sex with was actually underage.
Ellicott, who recently pleaded guilty on multiple charges as a part of a plea deal with federal investigators, was reportedly present when that call occurred on Sept. 4. While Ellicott was never a direct close acquaintance of Gaetz, he did have a long-time connection with Greenberg and his circle of friends.
If Ellicott's account is proven to be true, The Beast reports that it would "contradict Gaetz’s repeated assertions that he never had sex with an underage girl as an adult." Last spring, Gaetz responded to the allegations saying, "The last time I had a sexual relationship with a seventeen-year-old, I was seventeen.”
But the damning phone call would suggest that the Republican lawmaker had been aware of his actions throughout his time in the House of Representatives.
The details about the incriminating phone call reportedly align with the letter Greenberg wrote. The Daily Beast reports:
"In the letter, which Greenberg wrote after his indictment in late 2020 as part of an effort to land a presidential pardon, the Orlando-area tax official claimed that he, Gaetz, and others had sex with a minor they believed to be 19 at the time. Greenberg first learned she was underage after receiving an 'anonymous tip' on Sept. 4, 2017, he wrote. He then confirmed her age by improperly querying the teen’s personal information in the Florida state drivers’ license database, which he had access to as a local tax collector."
“Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage,” Greenberg wrote in a handwritten draft of his letter as he added adding that the Republican lawmaker was “equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation.”
He added, “There was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday.”
Ellicott's claims, if true, would disprove much of Gaetz's remarks refuting the allegations.
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