Another name has emerged in the federal investigation into a sex scandal reported to involve Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.
A federal grand jury subpoena that was obtained by Politico included mention of Joe “Big Joe” Ellicott, an individual said to be associated with former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg.
According to The Hill, Greenberg pleaded guilty earlier this week to half a dozen federal crimes, “including sex trafficking of a minor.” Greenberg — who is a friend of Rep. Gaetz, according to CNBC — has reportedly agreed to cooperate with the probe.
All the details
Issued on Dec. 28 of last year, the subpoena obtained by Politico states that a federal grand jury is looking into allegations of “commercial sex acts with adult and minor women, as well as obstruction of justice.”
The outlet said the order sought any “communications, documents, recordings and payments” between an individual who has thus far remained unnamed and Ellicot, Gaetz, or Greenberg that have occurred since January 2016.
According to Fox News, Greenberg is said to have provided illegal drugs to a young girl he was engaging in a sexual relationship with and is alleged to have embezzled $400,000 from the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office.
Also mentioned in the subpoena was former Republican state House member Halsey Beshears, who served alongside Gaetz during his own time in the state legislature, Politico noted.
Politico reported that although Gaetz could not be reached for comment, a spokesperson for the congressman has previously said Gaetz “barely knew” knew Ellicott and did not associate with him.
As for Greenberg, Gaetz’s spokesperson noted that the former friend of the congressman had falsely accused a political rival of pedophilia. Greenberg recently pleaded guilty to a stalking charge that stemmed from that incident, according to reports.
Dems want Gaetz out
In response to the ongoing controversy, Democrats have called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to strip Gaetz of his committee assignments in the lower chamber.
California Rep. Ted Lieu (D) tweeted to the minority leader late last month: “Please remove Rep Matt Gaetz from the House Judiciary Committee immediately. The Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice that is investigating Rep Gaetz, including allegedly for sex crimes with a minor. This is an untenable conflict of interest.”
McCarthy has said his caucus will vote to remove Gaetz from his committees if the allegations prove to be true, Newsweek reports.