The Daily Beast

Bombshell Letter: Gaetz Paid for Sex With Minor, Wingman Says

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via GettyA confession letter written by Joel Greenberg in the final months of the Trump presidency claims that he and close associate Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women—as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the 17-year-old.“From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.”The letter, which The Daily Beast recently obtained, was written after Greenberg—who was under federal indictment—asked Roger Stone to help him secure a pardon from then-President Donald Trump.A series of private messages starting in late 2020—also recently obtained by The Daily Beast—shows a number of exchanges between Greenberg and Stone conducted over the encrypted messaging app Signal, with communications set to disappear. However, Greenberg appears to have taken screenshots of a number of their conversations.“If I get you $250k in Bitcoin would that help or is this not a financial matter,” Greenberg wrote to Stone, one message shows.“I understand all of this and have taken it into consideration,” Stone replied. “I will know more in the next 24 hours I cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.”“I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident,” Stone wrote to Greenberg on Jan. 13.In a text message to The Daily Beast, Stone said that Greenberg had tried to hire him to assist with a pardon, but he denied asking for or receiving payment or interceding on his behalf. He did, however, confirm he had Greenberg prepare “a document explaining his prosecution.”In the private text messages to Stone, Greenberg described his activities with Gaetz, repeatedly referring to the Republican congressman by his initials, “MG,” or as “Matt.”“My lawyers that I fired, know the whole story about MG’s involvement,” Greenberg wrote to Stone on Dec. 21. “They know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and I both had sex with the girl who was underage.”As part of the effort to obtain a pardon, Greenberg wrote multiple drafts of his confession letter. The Daily Beast obtained two typed versions and an earlier handwritten one. Certified forensic document examiner and handwriting expert Wendy Carlson compared the letter to writing samples obtained through two public records requests. She said it was her professional expert opinion that the person who authored a 2019 financial disclosure for Joel Greenberg, as well as Greenberg’s 2020 Board of Elections form, was the same as the author of the letter.“The person who authored the

WASHINGTON — Hiring is accelerating as Americans increasingly venture out to shop, eat at restaurants and travel, and inflation pressures are even picking up after lying dormant for years. Yet this week, the Federal Reserve is all but sure to reiterate its commitment to ultra-low interest rates.

At a news conference Wednesday after the Fed’s latest policy meeting ends, Chair Jerome Powell will likely underscore his view that the economy is far from fully recovered and needs the central bank’s continued support in the form of low borrowing costs. There are still 8 million fewer jobs than there were before the pandemic struck. And the unemployment rate, at 6%, though well below where it was a year ago, remains elevated.

Powell has stressed that further gains in the job market are needed to help the many Americans — especially low-income workers and people of color — who have been disproportionately hurt by the loss of jobs and incomes and have yet to benefit from the early stages of the recovery.

At the same time, the central bank this week could bring into sharper focus the significance of the gamble the Powell Fed is taking in its approach to inflation. Under a new framework the Fed adopted last summer, it will no longer raise rates in anticipation of high inflation, which had been its policy for decades.

Instead, Powell and other Fed officials have made clear they want to see inflation actually exceed their 2% annual inflation target — and not just briefly — before they’d consider raising rates. The Fed’s policymakers have said they would like inflation to remain above 2% for “some time,” without specifying how long that might be.

They’ve set that goal so that inflation would average 2% over time, to offset the fact that inflation has been stuck below 2% for nearly the entire past decade. Fed policymakers favor price gains at that level as a cushion against deflation — a prolonged drop in prices and wages that typically makes people and companies reluctant to spend.

Seeking to allay any concerns about rising prices, Powell has said he thinks the inflation pressures that are now building in the U.S. economy, partly in response to clogged supply chains that have created shortages of some goods and components, will prove temporary. That’s because for now, Americans don’t expect prices to rise much in the long run.

Once expectations for inflation do rise, they can be self-fulfilling: Workers start demanding higher pay to offset expected price gains, and retailers begin raising prices to offset increased wages and supply costs. This can set off a wage-price spiral, something the United States last experienced in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Apart from inflation, the Fed’s new framework includes a sweeping definition of maximum employment that includes fully recovering the jobs lost to the pandemic, including among many people of color and low-income workers, before it even considers a rate hike. Powell has also indicated that the Fed would like the roughly