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Rep. Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg sentenced to 11 years for sex trafficking a minor

Joel Greenberg, a longtime associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (pictured) was sentenced Thursday to 11 years for sex trafficking a minor and five other charges. Greenberg cooperated with federal authorities, claiming he witnessed Gaetz having sex with a minor who was paid. Gaetz denies it. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
Joel Greenberg, a longtime associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (pictured) was sentenced Thursday to 11 years for sex trafficking a minor and five other charges. Greenberg cooperated with federal authorities, claiming he witnessed Gaetz having sex with a minor who was paid. Gaetz denies it. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Former Florida tax collector and associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz Joel Greenberg was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking a minor.

Greenberg originally faced 33 federal charges and decades in prison, but cooperated with prosecutors to reduce his sentence. The cooperation included providing information in the Justice Department's investigation into Rep. Gaetz for allegedly sex trafficking a minor.

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"He has provided substantial cooperation to the government -- more than I've seen in 22 years," Judge Gregory A. Presnell said at sentencing.

The Justice Department has investigated Gaetz for over a year and a half but has not yet decided whether to charge Gaetz. Greenberg told federal authorities that he witnessed Gaetz having sex with a 17-year-old girl who was paid for the encounter.

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Gaetz denies having sex with the minor.

In September, reports said prosecutors have recommended against charging Gaetz due to witness credibility concerns.

According to ABC News, the federal investigation into Gaetz has stalled because of those witness concerns and specifics in the case that would make a conviction difficult.

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Greenberg's attorney Fritz Scheller questioned why Greenberg was charged but the government has not yet charged any others, including some public figures, allegedly implicated in Greenberg's confessed crimes.

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"If the Government is so concerned with general deterrence, then why hasn't it prosecuted the other individuals, including public figures, who were also involved in Greenberg's offenses?" Schiller wrote in a memo before his client was sentenced. "Perhaps the DOJ are master strategists far beyond the capabilities of the undersigned. Or perhaps the DOJ is like Nero fiddling away as Rome burns."

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