Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testified to the grand jury today, according to NBC News. This comes months after she agreed to a cooperation deal against Gaetz in exchange for not being prosecuted for obstruction of justice. Today’s development makes it a near certainty that Gaetz will be indicted – and it (finally) points to a potentially swift timeframe.
To be clear, prosecutors wouldn’t put a cooperating witness in front of a grand jury without already knowing every word that she’s going to say. And in the extraordinarily unlikely event that she had gone rogue on the stand, that would be what leaked today, instead of the generic leak we got that she testified.
There are still questions – is she the final witness to testify against Gaetz? Has Joel Greenberg already testified? But at this point in the process, any remaining steps would be formalities. Gaetz now has to presume that he’ll be indicted, and that it could happen any day now. Further, it’s possible that prosecutors have now told Gaetz his indictment is imminent, in an effort to pressure him into cutting a deal of his own. It’ll be worth watching for his reaction in the coming days.
So why did it take prosecutors this long to finally approach the indictment finish line, after previous reporting from ABC News that Gaetz was potentially going to be indicted by last July? We may never know. Federal prosecutors don’t sit on major cases just for kicks; delays are most often explained by additional evidence or witnesses entering the mix who give prosecutors the opportunity to bring additional charges or build a more airtight case.
One big question is who leaked the news that Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testified today. Given her status as a cooperating witness, it’s unlikely she would have unilaterally decided to tell the media about this. And most other people in a position to know about grand jury testimony would get in legal trouble for leaking something like this.
So did DOJ itself leak this news? If so, it would be doing so in order to prepare the public for the fact that a sitting United States Congressman is about to be indicted. Let’s watch to see if additional leaks surface in the coming days, with more details about the specific charges that the DOJ intends to indict Gaetz on.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report