If, as Rep. Matt Gaetz is, you’re under investigation for allegedly sex trafficking of a minor, who do you turn to for legal advice? Easy: an attorney who represented convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
According to records filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, the Florida Republican’s campaign paid $25,000 in June to Manhattan criminal defense attorney Marc Fernich.
The lawyer’s website boasts, “Reflecting Fernich’s egalitarian approach is his diverse list of clients, many of them high profile.” The first three names under the heading “Notable Clients” all are high-profile convicted felons. Number one on the list is John A. “Junior” Gotti, son of the former Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, the now-deceased “Teflon Don.” The younger Gotti served prison time for racketeering.
Number two client is the violent Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loero, who is now serving a life sentence in federal prison for a host of crimes. Epstein, who committed suicide in prison, appears third on Fernich’s top client list.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz’s “wingman” Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector who is cooperating with authorities, procured women for Gaetz and whether the two men shared sexual partners, including a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz has said he never had intercourse with a 17-year-old, which is considered statutory rape in Florida.
Greenberg has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a child, production of false identification, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, and conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.