Greenberg spoke sparingly and with a tone of dejection during the 45-minute hearing, answering “yes” and “I do” as the judge read the details of his informed consent. He was wearing dark overalls and had his hands tied in front of him.
As part of the plea, Greenberg agreed to provide “substantial assistance” to prosecutors as part of their extensive investigations, including testifying in court proceedings or in large federal juries if necessary, and handing over any documents available to him that could help the federal inquiry .
Previously, CNN reported that Greenberg had provided investigators with information about how he and Gaetz had encounters with women who were given money or gifts in exchange for sex.
The Greenberg plea documents released on Friday document how he socialized using popular cell phone apps, paid thousands of dollars for sex with younger women, dated drugs and multiple people in hotels, and repeatedly exploited the power and funds of his public office .
Gaetz is not mentioned in the 86 pages of the Plea Deal documents published last Friday, to which his spokesman Harlan Hill pointed out in a statement on the plea agreement on Friday.
“Joel Greenberg has now confessed to falsely accusing an innocent man of having sex with a minor,” Hill said in a statement Monday.
In the plea agreement, Greenberg admitted falsely accusing a teacher in Florida of having sex with a student in 2019. Greenberg allegedly targeted the teacher after filing filings to turn Greenberg down for the county tax collector.
Greenberg’s admitted sexual charge provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. However, the pleading prosecutor said that if he helps them significantly, he may be able to impose a penalty lower than the minimum.
After the hearing, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller spoke to reporters that his client felt “a lot of remorse”.
“He is on his way to rehabilitation and has a lot of regrets,” said Scheller. “I think he feels accepted.”
Scheller wouldn’t say how many times Greenberg met with federal investigators and refused to comment on the possible consequences of the plea for Gaetz and other Florida officials.
“Does my client have any information that could hurt an elected official? I think this is a must see on TV. You just have to wait and see,” said Scheller.
Scheller declined to respond to Gaetz’s spokesman’s statement when it was read to him on Monday.
Greenberg’s cooperation with the government was briefly mentioned at the hearing. Judge Leslie Hoffman explained to Greenberg how his collaboration could potentially affect his final sentence, and Greenberg admitted that he understood.
Under the deal, Greenberg also pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and prosecution of a political rival. He must register as a sex offender and refund the underage victim.
Roger Handberg, the prosecutor handling the case, told the court that the plea agreement discussed on Monday constituted the entirety of the agreement – no part of the agreement was kept under lock and key and out of the public eye.
Brian Beute, Greenberg’s former competitor for the tax collector’s headquarters whom Greenberg harassed on Monday, told reporters prior to the hearing that he was satisfied with the consent form.
“I have new hope and satisfaction with our federal system,” said Beute.
This story has been updated with additional developments and reactions.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
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