Yesterday, Florida politician Joel Greenberg let it be known that he’s planning to cut a plea deal against Congressman Matt Gaetz. Given the damning Venmo receipts that leaked last night, and the fact that Greenberg has records of all of his electronic communications with Gaetz, it’s fair to conclude that Gaetz is very likely toast.
Even if Gaetz thinks he can beat some of the more serious charges at trial, he’s also going to end up being indicted on some lesser charges that are much easier to get a conviction on. It’s just how these federal cases tend to go. Even someone as arrogant as Gaetz is surely about to realize that he’s going to prison; it’s just a matter of how many years or decades.
So the question becomes whether Matt Gaetz wants to take his chances at trial, knowing that he’ll almost certainly be convicted and sent to prison – possibly for the rest of his life – or whether he wants to cut a deal that’ll let him out of prison before he’s a senior citizen. Given the grotesque severity of the worst of the charges against him, he’d have to flip on some really valuable targets in order to get a favorable deal.
That means Gaetz can’t just give up his low level political buddies in Florida. Besides, Joel Greenberg is already giving them up. Gaetz would need to flip on someone far bigger than himself – in other words, Donald Trump.
That would require Gaetz to have knowledge of Trump’s crimes. This seems a given, considering how many felonies Trump committed while in office, and how brazen he was about it. But considering what a dunderhead Gaetz is, was he savvy enough to keep the receipts on Trump if he needs them? We may end up finding out.
This is all down the road a bit; Joel Greenberg will have to complete his plea deal against Matt Gaetz, then Gaetz will have to be indicted, and then Gaetz will have to conclude that he’s screwed enough to need a deal of his own. But in the end, flipping on Trump may be the only play that Gaetz has left.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report