The Justice Department has added two top corruption prosecutors to the child sex trafficking investigation of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, according to The New York Times.
A public corruption investigator with an “expertise in child exploitation crimes” and the head of a public corruption unit in D.C. have been working on the Florida-based probe for at least three months, according to the report.
The D.C. prosecutors have joined a group of federal investigators in Florida who are investigating sex trafficking, fraud, and corruption by multiple prominent Republicans, including Gaetz.
Investigators are looking at whether Gaetz violated federal child sex trafficking laws by providing payments or gifts to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex.
Associate files to delay sentencing:
Longtime Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, who admitted to facilitating dates for Gaetz and others using sugar daddy websites, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same 17-year-old girl and other charges earlier this year.
Greenberg agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, telling them that he saw Gaetz and others have sex with the girl.
Greenberg’s attorney earlier this week filed a motion to delay his client’s sentencing until March because he is still cooperating with the feds.
The child sex trafficking law Greenberg pleaded guilty to carries a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Will Gaetz face charges?
Justice Department corruption cases are often highly guarded and prosecutors don’t always bring charges.
Sex trafficking cases can also be difficult but the Times reports that the prosecutors added to the case are experienced with cases in which children have been exploited but don’t necessarily see themselves as victims, which can complicate witness testimony.
“It’s not uncommon for teens who have been trafficked to view themselves as willing participants and not as victims, often as a result of psychological manipulation by their traffickers,” former federal prosecutor Amanda Kramer told the Times. “That’s one of many dynamics that make sex trafficking cases challenging for prosecutors, but it’s far from fatal to the case.”