Great Britain

Gaetz associate’s lawyer says case is ‘must see television’ as congressman continues to tweet about Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

A lawyer for Joel Greenberg, an associate of US Rep Matt Gaetz, promised “must-see television” after his client pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges, potentially imperiling the congressman’s political career if Mr Greenberg’s cooperation with the government implicates Mr Gaetz.

Mr Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges, which set off a flurry of speculation as to what the plea will mean for Mr Gaetz, who has continually denied any wrongdoing.

A reporter asked the lawyer if any of the "other men" mentioned in Mr Greenberg's plea deal included Mr Gaetz.

"I'm not going to answer that," the attorney replied.

He also said he would not answer whether or not he thought Mr Gaetz should be indicted.

Reporters tried to be more vague with their questions, asking if any elected officials would be impacted by the plea deal.

"This is must see television," he said. "You'll have to wait and see."

At the same time that news broke about Mr Greenberg's plea deal, Mr Gaetz was continuing to push Donald Trump's election lies on Twitter.

The congressman tweeted out that he, along with Arizona Congressman Andy Briggs, Congressman Paul Gosar, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, were calling on the US Department of Justice to commit to "election integrity in Arizona" regarding the GOP-sponsored recount a private organisation has been undertaking for the last several weeks.

The lawmakers drafted a letter calling on Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan to commit to "uphold the rule of law" and allow Arizona to confirm the 2020 elections were free and fair.

The letter claims that Ms Karlan previously disputed the integrity of the audit in a letter to the President of the Arizona Senate Karen Fann.

Ms Karlan's complaints were rooted in the fact that an independent contractor, Cyber Ninja, was overseeing the recount. The organisation has no history or previous experience managing an election recount. Further, the CEO of the company openly supported Mr Trump's election conspiracy theories prior to his company being given the contract to conduct the recount.

While Mr Gaetz and his cohort believe that the audit is legitimate, even other Republicans have been critical of the recount.

Arizona state Senator Paul Boyer, who previously supported the audit, called the undertaking "ridiculous" and said it was "embarrassing to be a state senator at this point" because it makes his party "look like idiots”.

The recount was estimated to conclude around 14 May, but that deadline has already long passed. At the current rate ballots are being counted, the audit will not be completed until the late summer.

Further complicating matters are that the venue where the audit is taking place, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, is already booked for other groups. As a result, the audit will have to take a two day recess to allow for high school graduations booked in the hall.

Mr Gaetz has been a stalwart Trump loyalist, and even told lawmakers on 6 January that the insurrection that occurred hours earlier was the fault of antifa, despite all evidence pointing to disgruntled supporters of the former president being the culprits.

While he was busying himself with Mr Trump's election lies, someone hired a plane to fly around the Florida courthouse where Mr Greenberg was pleading guilty to federal charges towing a banner that read "Tick Tock Matt Gaetz."

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