“Big Joe” Ellicott, a former Florida shock jock with potentially key information about the sex trafficking ring involving Rep. Matt Gaetz, has pleaded guilty in federal court, The Daily Beast has learned.
Ellicott is the long-time best friend of corrupt Florida tax official Joel Greenberg, who was Gaetz’s wingman in the underage sex operation, according to several sources with direct knowledge of their relationship. Last year, The Daily Beast revealed that Ellicott knew intimate details about the teenage girl who was paid for sex by the group—and actually texted what essentially amounted to a confession that they were scrambling to try and coverup details about their sex with a 17-year-old from the feds.
Ellicott was particularly legally exposed through his involvement with Greenberg, who ran the small Central Florida tax agency like a fiefdom where he hired his friends for no-show jobs. That appears to be what took Ellicott down.
In court documents last week, Ellicott was accused of fraud for agreeing to “pay bribes and kickbacks” to a public official and a separate drug crime: illegally selling the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prescription medicine Adderall. On Jan. 18, Ellicott signed a plea agreement admitting to both crimes. The crimes netted him about $6,000, according to the agreement.
Ellicott’s plea agreement requires him to cooperate with the government in other prosecutions, including possibly testimony before the grand jury and in court. In exchange, Ellicott will not be formally charged by the grand jury, and has a shot at significantly reducing his sentence. He will also enjoy immunity from “any other federal offenses known to the U.S. Attorney’s Office” relating to the two crimes.
That immunity could be sweeping.