By Paula Reid and Tierney Sneed | CNN
Florida radio host Joseph “Big Joe” Ellicott is cooperating with the US Justice Department’s investigation into Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida after pleading guilty in a separate bribery scheme, Ellicott’s attorney tells CNN.
Ellicott agreed on Monday to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to distribution of a controlled substance. His plea hearing is scheduled for February 9 in Orlando, according to the case’s docket.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, which filed the plea agreement with Ellicott, declined to comment on the case.
Ellicott’s attorney, Joe Zwick, said his client has met with federal investigators to share what he knows about allegations against Gaetz, including sexual contact with a minor, sex trafficking and obstruction of justice.
“He was able to shed light on all of those issues,” Zwick said.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.
Even though Ellicott has spoken with investigators, he has not been called to testify before the Florida grand jury hearing evidence in the Gaetz case, according to Zwick.
Ellicott is the third person in Gaetz’s orbit who is known to be cooperating with the federal investigation of the congressman.
An ex-girlfriend of Gaetz’s testified earlier this month before the grand jury. And Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax official and onetime close friend of Gaetz’s, has been cooperating with authorities after pleading guilty to several charges last year, including that he had knowingly solicited and paid a minor for sex.
According to filings in federal court in Florida, Ellicott was part of a bribery scheme between an unnamed contractor and an unnamed elected government official. Ellicott delivered $6,000 cash from the contractor to the government official in 2017, the court filings said.
As part of the scheme, the contractor continued to receive government business and was paid for inflated invoices, according to the filings.
Under a cover story concocted by the contractor, the cash given to Ellicott in the kickback scheme was for partial purchase of a business owned by Ellicott, according to the filings.
The distribution charge Ellicott has agreed to plead guilty to involves his sale of thousands of dollars’ worth of Adderall, the filings said.
Source: Orange County Register