“Big Joe” Ellicott, a Florida sensation with potentially important information about a sex-trafficking ring involving Representative Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty in federal court, The Daily Beast known.
Ellicott is a longtime close friend of a corrupt Florida tax official Joel Greenberg, according to several sources with direct knowledge of their relationship, who served as Gaetz’s arm in the prostitution of minors. Last year, The Daily Beast revealed that Ellicott knows intimate details about underage girls who were paid to have sex by the group — and actually texted what was essentially a confession that they were trying and covering up details about their sex with a 17 year old from federal.
Ellicott was particularly exposed to legal exposure through his involvement with Greenberg, who ran the small Central Florida tax office like a manor where he hires his friends for absentee jobs. That seems to be what brought down Ellicott.
In court documents Last week, Ellicott was charged with fraud for agreeing to “give bribes and kickbacks” to a public official and a separate drug offence: illegally selling a prescription drug Adderall with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On January 18, Ellicott signed a plea agreement admit both crimes.
According to prosecutors, Ellicott was an intermediary in the kickback settlement, offering a $6,000 cash bribe from an unnamed tax office contractor to a State official – Greenberg. In exchange for the bribe, Greenberg and the contractor made an arrangement in which the contractor inflated the bill to work with the tax authorities, pocketing the difference.
Joe Zwick, an attorney for Ellicott, told The Daily Beast that his client cooperated in the sex trafficking case against Gaetz. That case is being handled by Justice Department prosecutors in Washington, DC, and separate from the ongoing local investigation into Greenberg and the tax office, which led to the charges in case of Ellicott.
“This investigation has nothing to do with the sex scandal, but with the unprecedented work Greenberg is doing with the tax department. The big difference is that Joel Greenberg was elected to serve the people, and Joe was not. And the fact that this was done by criminal credentials rather than an indictment pretty much says how prosecutors see him in this case,” Zwick said, pointing out that Ellicott had not caught. “It is clear that they appreciate his continued cooperation, and so does he. We will begin sentencing as soon as we can, and do everything we can to reduce his time. “
Zwick said a guilty plea hearing has been set for February.
Ellicott’s plea agreement requires him to cooperate with the government in other prosecutions, including possible grand jury and court testimony. In return, Ellicott would not be formally charged by a jury, and would greatly reduce his sentence. He would also enjoy immunity from “any other federal offense known to the United States Attorney’s Office” related to the two crimes.
That immunity can be wiped out.
The congressman’s office and the external public relations firm he hired did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Gaetz has repeatedly denied involvement in any sex crimes — and dismissed the federal investigation as a political one.
The United States Attorney’s office in Florida’s Middle District, which is dealing with the Ellicott case, declined to comment on his potential witness role in the sex crime investigation Wednesday morning.
Although a federal grand jury is underway in Orlando — hearing testimony from witnesses, including Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend — the case is being run by two seasoned prosecutors from headquarters. Department of Justice office in Washington, DC One is Todd Gee, deputy director of the DOJ. integrity part. The other is Lauren Britsch, who used to investigate sex crimes but later transferred to the corruption investigation team of government officials.