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Matt Gaetz associate, cooperating with federal investigators, asks for sentencing delay

Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax official, pleaded guilty in May to six counts tied to wire fraud, identity theft, bribery and the sex trafficking of a minor.

The former Florida tax official whose criminal case led to a sex-trafficking investigation involving Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., asked for a 90-day sentencing delay Tuesday because of his continuing cooperation and discussions with federal prosecutors, court papers show.

The attorney for the man, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, told the judge overseeing his case in a court filing Tuesday that "pursuant to his plea agreement with the Government, Mr. Greenberg has been cooperating with the Government and has participated in a series of proffers."

His sentencing had been scheduled for Aug. 19. Greenberg's attorney said prosecutors didn't object to the delay of 90 days.

The lawyer said Greenberg is expected to participate in additional sessions with prosecutors and noted that his cooperation could affect his ultimate sentence. It's unclear what the delay would mean for the investigation into Gaetz, who hasn't been charged with any crime and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, the federal judge overseeing the case agreed to postpone Greenberg's sentencing and set a date of Nov. 18.

Greenberg pleaded guilty in May to six counts tied to wire fraud, identity theft, bribery and the sex trafficking of a minor — a small fraction of the 33 charges that prosecutors originally brought. He also agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, court filings show.

Under the plea agreement, the government will seek a reduced sentence if Greenberg cooperates fully. The counts Greenberg agreed to plead guilty to carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 12 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.

According to prosecutors, Greenberg spent over $70,000 in 150 transactions from 2016 to 2018 to pay women for sex.

Federal investigators are reviewing whether Gaetz and Greenberg used the internet to search for women they could pay for sex. They are also investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and paid for her to travel with him.

Law enforcement officials previously confirmed to NBC News that the investigation of Gaetz originated from the investigation of Greenberg, which has taken numerous turns since he was arrested in June 2020 over allegations that he smeared a rival candidate during his campaign for re-election for tax collector.