For a year now, federal prosecutors have been investigating Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz for allegedly transporting an underage girl across state lines and gave her money to have sex with him.
On Thursday, Gaetz’s so-called “wingman,” Joel Greenberg, was sentenced to 11 years in prison even though he cooperated with the Justice Department.
Why hasn’t Gaetz been charged? That was the question for New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt when he appeared on MSNBC and was asked by “Deadline: White House” host Nicolle Wallace:
“In documents filed in connection with Mr. Greenberg’s sentencing, the Justice Department said he, quote, ‘provided truthful and timely information that led to the charging of at least four of other people and provided substantial assistance on other matters that the government would address only in a sealed filing. Do you have any sense of what the other matters are, and if Mr. Greenberg is viewed as credible and witnessed Mr. Gaetz, quote, ‘having sex with the 17-year-old girl’? I believe it’s the same one and having evidence she was paid. Why Mr. Gaetz hasn’t been charged with the same crimes that Mr. Greenberg was sentenced for today?”
“A high-profile matter is complicated for the Justice Department. The Justice Department, as you have seen, has moved very sort of methodically and, you know, at times, you know, according to the critics, slowly on the issues of politicians because they want to do a painstaking job to make sure they follow the evidence and the evidence is there to bring a case. It is — while we’re supposed to be treated equally under the law, it is more difficult to bring a prosecution against a high-profile politician, a member of Congress that allied himself so closely with Donald Trump. And I think that if the department were to bring a case and lose a case, it would have enormous consequences.”
Greenberg was a much easier case to prosecute, Schmidt continued:
“The decision to bring the charge in that sense against someone like Matt Gaetz is a much weightier decision than when the government had enormous amount of evidence against Joel Greenberg … and could get him to flip and cooperate. He had a lawyer who realized that the only pathway to reduce his sentence time was to cooperate. Greenberg was looking at up to three decades in prison for his crimes. He was sentenced to 11 years. That’s a significant departure. That was due to his cooperation.”