Paula Reed and Tierney Sneed | CNN
Florida radio personality Joseph “Big Joe” Ellicott is cooperating with the U.S. Justice Department in investigating Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz after he pleaded guilty to a separate bribery scheme, Ellicott’s lawyer told CNN.
On Monday, Ellicott agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and distribution of a controlled substance. According to the case file, his plea hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9 in Orlando.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, which entered into a plea agreement with Ellicott, declined to comment on the case.
Ellicott’s attorney, Joe Zwick, said his client met with federal investigators to share what he knows about the allegations against Gaetz, including sexual contact with minors, sex trafficking and obstruction of justice.
“He was able to shed light on all these questions,” Zwick said.
Gaetz denied any wrongdoing and was not charged with a crime.
Even though Ellicott spoke to investigators, Zwick said he was not called to testify before a Florida grand jury hearing evidence in the Gaetz case.
Ellicott is the third person in Gaetz’s orbit who is known to be cooperating with the congressman’s federal investigation.
Earlier this month, Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testified before a grand jury. And Joel Greenberg, a former Florida IRS official and former close friend of Gaetz, is cooperating with authorities after pleading guilty last year to several charges, including that he willfully solicited and paid a minor for sex.
Ellicott was involved in a bribery scheme between an unnamed contractor and an unnamed elected government official, according to documents filed in Florida federal court. In 2017, Ellicott gave a government official $6,000 in cash from a contractor, according to court documents.
Under the scheme, the contractor continued to receive orders from the government and was paid inflated bills, according to the documents.
According to documents concocted by the front contractor, the money given to Ellicott as part of the kickback scheme was for a partial purchase of a business owned by Ellicott.
The distribution charge, which Ellicott agreed to plead guilty to, involved selling them thousands of dollars worth of Adderall, the documents say.