matt gaetz

Matt Gaetz’s Sex Trafficking Investigation Just Keeps Getting Worse for Him

Another potential witness just flipped.
Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)
Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (PhoRod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

Joe Ellicott, a former radio host and associate of convicted child sex trafficker Joel Greenberg, is reportedly cooperating with the federal sex trafficking investigation involving far-right U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. 

Ellicott previously worked as the special projects manager in Seminole County, Florida, while Greenberg was the county’s tax collector. Ellicott is cooperating in the investigation into whether Gaetz, who’s in his third term in the House, traded goods or money for sex with a woman who was 17 at the time, his lawyer told the Daily Beast


“This investigation had nothing to do with the sex scandal but with the unprecedented things Greenberg was doing with the tax office,” Joseph Zwick, Ellicott’s attorney, told the Daily Beast Wednesday. (Zwick did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News.)

“Obviously they value [Ellicott’s] continued cooperation, as he does as well. We are going to set off sentencing as long as we can, and do everything we can to reduce his time.”

Ellicott was a co-host of the Orlando-area sports radio show “Baumann and Big Joe,” which stopped airing in 2014. He later worked as the special projects manager for Seminole County after Greenberg was elected as the county tax collector. 

Ellicott had been indicted, but not formally charged, on accusations that he had served as an “intermediary” between Greenberg and a contractor, participating in a bribery and kickback scheme. He was also indicted for selling Adderall. Ellicott pleaded guilty to a felony to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud as well as distribution of a controlled substance, according to a court document unsealed Monday. 

As part of the plea agreement, Ellicott “agrees to cooperate fully with the United States in the investigation and prosecution of other persons,” including providing testimony, and to provide restitution to Seminole County. In exchange, if Ellicott complies with the terms of the agreement and provides “substantial assistance” to the government, he’ll face no other charges and could win a significant reduction in jail time. 


The news that Ellicott is cooperating is the latest in a string of developments that bode poorly for Gaetz.

Greenberg, a former close associate of Gaetz, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and child sex trafficking last year, and has reportedly been cooperating with the Justice Department since 2020. And earlier this month, Gaetz’s former girlfriend testified before a grand jury in Orlando, reportedly receiving immunity to do so

Gaetz has repeatedly denied that he had sex with an underage girl or paid her for it, and has said that the allegations are part of a political retribution for taking on “the swamp” and Joe Biden’s Justice Department—even though the investigation began while Donald Trump, for whom Gaetz is a top political ally, was still president. 

In an email to VICE News, Gaetz’s congressional office continued to deny any wrongdoing.

“After nearly a year of false rumors, not a shred of evidence has implicated Congressman Gaetz in wrongdoing,” Gaetz’s congressional office said in a statement. “We remain focused on our work representing Floridians.”

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