Judge grants Joel Greenberg’s request to delay sentencing on sex trafficking conviction

Greenberg’s attorney filed motion to push back his sentencing date by 90 days

Joel Greenberg admits to paying teen for sex, introducing her to other men, documents show
Joel Greenberg admits to paying teen for sex, introducing her to other men, documents show

A federal judge granted Joel Greenberg’s request to delay his sentencing on federal charges by 90 days, according to court documents.

In June, a judge set the ex-Seminole County Tax Collector’s sentencing date for Aug. 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Orlando. This came after Greenberg entered a guilty plea to six criminal charges, including child sex trafficking, on May 17 as part of a plea agreement. In exchange for his cooperation and guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop 27 additional charges involving crimes that allegedly occurred in Greenberg’s personal life and while he was working as an elected official.

New court paperwork shows Greenberg’s lawyer wants to delay that sentencing, citing an inability for his client to meet the terms of his plea agreement in time for the sentencing to take place.

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The motion specifically looks at three issues in its bid to delay sentencing by 90 days.

First, it states that Greenberg has been cooperating with federal investigators and adds that he cannot complete that cooperation ahead of the sentencing date. The motion points out that the content of the information Greenberg is providing to investigators could have an impact on his ultimate sentence and that a continuance could allow him to complete that cooperation.

Second, the motion points to the restitution portion of his plea deal, which calls for Greenberg to pay nearly $655,000 to his victims. The motion states that the restitution is entitled to multiple parties in “disputed amounts” and that these issues cannot be resolved prior to the current sentencing date.

Third, the motion states that prosecutors and the defense are in the process of resolving Greenberg’s “applicable and advisory sentencing guideline range which has been complicated by the diversity and nature of his charges.”

According to a new order filed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell granted Greenberg’s request setting his sentencing date for Nov. 18 at 9 a.m.

Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty Monday morning to six criminal charges including child sex trafficking. (WKMG)

He faces anywhere from 12 years to life in prison based on sentencing guidelines and minimum mandatory sentencing requirements. However, Greenberg’s attorney, Fritz Scheller, said in May his client could do less time than that.

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A judge will have to decide whether to grant the defense’s motion or proceed with sentencing as scheduled.

It remains unclear what information Greenberg is providing to federal investigators.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a friend of Greenberg, is under investigation for possible sex crimes related to the Greenberg problem, according to published reports. Federal prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex, according to people familiar with the matter.

Gaetz has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes. His name does not appear in Greenberg’s plea agreement.

Read the defense’s motion below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.