Greenberg attorney on Gaetz: "I had a certain agenda, which I accomplished"

Indeed he did, and Fritz Scheller managed to use the media to accomplish it. Whether Matt Gaetz can take any relief from that remains to be seen, but Scheller leveraged Gaetz to get the best deal he could for his client Joel Greenberg. Having formalized the plea agreement this afternoon, Scheller waxed philosophical about his earlier prediction about the sitting House Republican:

Scheller intimated that other pols might not be feeling very comfortable at the moment, although he remained mum about Gaetz specifically:

Scheller hints here that he used Gaetz to force the Department of Justice into a plea deal. By dangling Gaetz in public, he made it impossible for prosecutors not to offer a cooperative deal. Had they balked, critics would have accused them of letting a member of Congress off the hook. And while Scheller is smugly ambiguous about it here after executing the plea agreement, he’s certainly hinting that Gaetz might not needed to have felt very uncomfortable after all.

No doubt Gaetz will be furious over Scheller’s exploitation, if that turns out to be the case. But as Scheller says (or hints, anyway), his client was named Joel Greenberg and not Matt Gaetz. It might be ethically questionable, but you can bet Greenberg won’t give Scheller a bad Yelp rating for saving him a few years of hard time, if indeed that’s what happened.

Prosecutors might have been inclined to get Greenberg pleaded out anyway. His value as a witness is less than sterling, thanks to the initial crime under investigation — framing a political rival as a sex offender. Greenberg might provide prosecutors with more cases, but they’ll likely have to make them without Greenberg as the main witness … which is another reason why Scheller would have had to pump up his value.

The New York Times still painted this as “an ominous development” for Gaetz:

Joel Greenberg, the former confidant of Representative Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Orlando to a range of charges, including sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl, as part of a plea deal that will require him to help in other Justice Department investigations.

The deal was an ominous development for Mr. Gaetz, who is under investigation into whether he violated sex trafficking laws by paying the same 17-year-old for sex. Although Mr. Gaetz’s name was not mentioned in court, Mr. Greenberg has told investigators that he witnessed Mr. Gaetz have sex with the girl and that she was paid. Mr. Gaetz has denied ever paying anyone for sex.

The NYT report doesn’t include Scheller’s bragging about his agenda, but it does at least acknowledge that Scheller walked back a bit on Gaetz:

Mr. Scheller, had told reporters after a court hearing last month that “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.” But he declined to elaborate.

In response to questions outside the courtroom on Monday about whether Mr. Greenberg would cooperate in a case against Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Scheller provided a slightly more measured response, saying that his client was bound by the plea agreement.

“He will honor it,” Mr. Scheller said.

Gaetz should still be worried, but mainly for being a subject of the investigation. Until prosecutors file an indictment with actual evidence, skepticism is still the order of the day.