New reports from The Daily Beast show that Gaetz and Greenberg’s relationship extended beyond the 2019-2020 period originally reported elsewhere. That’s because a tip to the FBI shows that Gaetz Greenberg accompanied Greenberg on a nightly trip to his office in 2018 that triggered a security alert. It turned out that the FBI was already investigating Greenberg for something he was doing in that office: forged identification.
Gaetz denied having sex with a 17-year-old and called him “demonstrably wrong”. However, the link to an operation that generates fake IDs certainly expands the possibility that Gaetz not only knowingly recruited underage girls for sex, but that this may not be a one-off incident.
Tightening this possibility is one of the strangest factors in an already very strange story: Matt Gaetz ’19 -year-old “son”.
In June 2020, Gaetz published a bizarre tweet in which 19-year-old Nestor Galban was introduced as “my son” who lived with him. “As you can imagine, I was triggered when (to lead an absurd debate) a congressman cut Republican contributions because we weren’t raising non-white children,” wrote Gaetz. “Well, I have.”
Gaetz told People Magazine that he informally adopted Cuban-born Nestor Galban when the boy was 12 and Gaetz, then a Florida state legislature, was dating Nestor’s older sister. After the relationship with the sister ended, the then 13-year-old Galban moved to Gaetz. Galban’s biological father lives in Miami, and Galban appears to have lived with his father for some time. Gaetz says he “raised” his “son”. However, according to reports, Galban graduated from high school in 2020, which means that the time Galban was in high school overlaps the time Gaetz was investigated not just to solicit sex from underage girls, but also in connection with Greenberg’s forged ID.
This at least raises concerns that Gaetz’s connection with Galban was less about parenting than about access. Having a teen in the house could certainly serve as both a conduit and an excuse for why teenage girls might be around too.
Greenberg is now facing an astonishing 33 charge count. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, these allegations include bribery, theft, persecution of a political opponent, Using a government database to create fake IDs and sex trafficking in minors. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Greenberg “flaunted his close relationships with Gaetz, Donald Trump and Roger Stone.” Stone also appeared on the Sun Sentinel this week, claiming Gaetz was the victim of a “smear.”
But there can be very good reasons why the recently pardoned stone is anxious to make this scandal go away.
Let me get that straight. Joel Greenberg is under investigation for sex trafficking, that’s his friend Matt Gaetz back there, and Roger Stone is sweating his role on January 6th. You can smell the fear. In happier times pic.twitter.com/zbUubppLkt
– Sandi Bachom (andsandibachom), March 31, 2021
Gaetz’s mention of Greenberg as a “Second Amendment Champion” comes because Greenberg insisted that his assistant tax collectors bear guns in the office. Greenberg also used his own gun and state ID as a tax collector to stop a car on the pretext of police officers.
This is a scandal that started ugly and gets worse by the hour. The long-standing connection to Greenberg and the nightly office visit suggest that Gaetz knew the scheme for creating forged ID cards, if not even involved in it. Several sources have reported that Gaetz is under investigation into paying minors for interstate travel for sexual intercourse. This “game,” which Gaetz reportedly played with fellow Republican congressmen, included “extra points” for sleeping with virgins. And at the same time that all of this was happening, Gaetz had a teenager in his house, even though he had a father and other relatives in the area.
Gaetz can be innocent. The relationship with Galban can be innocent. But at the moment it all looks extremely bad.
It is far from over. On Friday morning, Gaetz’s communications director resigned “on principle”. And CNN’s Dana Bash says she’s inundated with news from those who worked with Gaetz. “If you could see my text messages from some of his current and former colleagues,” said Bash. “I can’t really repeat what some of them say on morning TV.”
There’s also this Florida trend coverage that dates back to Gaetz’s time at the Florida House. At that point, the state was trying to pass a law against revenge porn that was so watered down that it ultimately turned out to be of no use in defending women. The bill came about because “one of the main opponents of the legislation was Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach).” Even after Gaetz succeeded in gutting the bill, he was one of only two legislators who voted against it. That is a particularly damn story when CNN reported Thursday night that Gaetz allegedly sent other lawmakers “photos and videos of naked women he slept with”.
That wasn’t just Florida legislature at the time. It was the Washington, DC legislature today. Matt Gaetz has been walking around in Congress showing nude videos of women he allegedly slept with his fellow Republican colleagues while continuing his rant about “family values.” And none of them, none, called on him to do so.
What may be most disturbing about Gaetz’s reported actions is his own feeling that he was seemingly inviolable. According to sources from ABC and the New York Times, Gaetz continued his recruiting and paying women long after Greenberg was arrested and even after Gaetz announced his engagement.
What may be most disturbing about all the others is that they are currently making their statements about Gaetz, even though they have known exactly what he is for years. This is a scandal with limits that are still growing. And it won’t stop with Gaetz.