April 8, 2021

In May 2018, on the day after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) sent $900 to his associate, former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, via Venmo, Greenberg used the app to send three young women payments amounting to $900, The Daily Beast reports.

Gaetz paid Greenberg over two transactions. The first had "Test" written in the memo field, and the second said "hit up ____," with the blank being the nickname for one of the recipients. (Because the young woman had only recently turned 18 at the time of the transaction, The Daily Beast is not naming her.) In the Venmo payments he made to the young women, Greenberg wrote that the money was for "Tuition," "School," and "School."

Last week, The New York Times reported that Gaetz, 38, was the subject of a Justice Department inquiry into whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel out of state with him. This investigation reportedly stemmed from a probe into Greenberg, who has been charged with sex trafficking of a minor, bribery, and stalking. Court documents say Greenberg was "engaged in 'sugar daddy' relationships," and the Times has reported investigators believe Gaetz paid for sex with several women he met through Greenberg.

Gaetz's list of Venmo transactions had been public before this week, The Daily Beast reports, and someone sent the outlet partial Venmo records for Greenberg. The records show that both men are connected on Venmo to the young woman The Daily Beast is not naming, as well as a woman Greenberg paid with taxpayer funds using a government-issued credit card, The Daily Beast reports.

During a hearing on Thursday, both Greenberg's attorney and prosecutors said it is likely Greenberg will strike a plea deal, an indication that he will probably cooperate with prosecutors. After the hearing, Greenberg's attorney told reporters, "I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today." Gaetz has confirmed the investigation is taking place, but denies having sex with a 17-year-old girl or paying for sex. He has not been charged with any crimes. Read more at The Daily Beast. Catherine Garcia

8:35 p.m.

President Biden said it took "a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors" for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to be found guilty of George Floyd's murder — a verdict that is "much too rare" when it comes to police brutality cases.

This was a "murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism," Biden said during a televised address. He praised the "brave young woman with a smartphone camera" who recorded Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and said the police officers who testified against Chauvin "instead of just closing ranks" should be "commended." It took all of that, plus a "jury who heard the evidence and carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment," to deliver "just basic accountability," Biden said.

Most men and women in law enforcement "serve their communities honorably, but those few who fail to meet that standard must be held accountable, and today, one was," Biden said. The verdict sends the message that "no one should be above the law," yet "it's not enough," and "in order to deliver real change and reform, we must do more to reduce the likelihood that a tragedy like this ever happens again."

Biden called on state and local governments, as well as the federal government, to "step up" and take action to fix the racial disparities in policing and the criminal justice system. He ended his remarks on a hopeful note, saying, "This can be a moment of significant change." Catherine Garcia

7:58 p.m.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday evening urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, saying that it would "hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities."

The legislation should not be viewed as "a panacea to every problem, but as a start," Harris said during a televised address. "This work is long overdue. America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans and Black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human. Black men are fathers, and brothers, and sons, and uncles, and grandfathers, and friends, and neighbors. Their lives must be valued."

Racial injustice isn't just an issue for people of color, Harris said, it's "a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all, and it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy and our job now is to honor it and to honor him." Catherine Garcia

7:19 p.m.

In an emotional press conference on Tuesday evening, George Floyd's brothers discussed how relieved they are that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering their brother, and shared their hope that this is a turning point for the United States.

"This is a victory for all of us," Rodney Floyd said. "There's no color boundary on this. This is for everyone who has been held down, pinned down. We're standing together in union."

The recording of Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd's neck showed people around the world a "life being extinguished," Philonise Floyd said. Even with this guilty verdict, "I'm going to put up a fight every day," he said. "Because I'm not just fighting for George anymore. I'm fighting for everybody around this world. I get calls, I get DMs, from people from Brazil, Ghana, Germany. They are all saying the same thing: We won't be able to breathe until you're able to breathe. Today we are able to breathe again." Philonese thanked the protesters, activists, and supporters "who stepped up," adding that "justice for George means freedom for all."

Terrence Floyd called the verdict "monumental," and said he was grateful for the time he had with his brother George, who showed him how to be "strong," "respectful," and to "speak my mind." He is going to "miss him," Terrence added, "but now I know he's in history. What a day to be a Floyd, man." Catherine Garcia

6:58 p.m.

With the dust settled — for now — on the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who on Tuesday was convicted of murdering George Floyd, several journalists, including CNN's Jake Tapper, resurrected the original Minneapolis Police Department statement regarding Floyd's death last May.

The vague press release said only that a man had a "medical incident" during an arrest, officers called an ambulance, and the suspect died at a hospital. "At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident," the statement reads. There was no mention of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Some commentators said re-reading the statement nearly a year later "hits hard," while others cited it as an example of why readers should be skeptical of initial police statements on police-involved incidents. "This fabricated police story might have become the official account of George Floyd's death if concerned citizens had not intervened and recorded the police," Tapper's colleague Keith Boykin tweeted. Tim O'Donnell

6:42 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama is glad that a "jury in Minneapolis did the right thing" on Tuesday when it found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, but said if Americans are being "honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial."

Video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes last May sparked protests and conversations around the world, Obama said in a statement released Tuesday evening, and there was always a question of whether justice would be served. The guilty verdict is a "necessary step on the road to progress," Obama said, but is "far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest."

There needs to be "concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system," Obama continued. "We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized." For there to be "true justice," the country needs to "come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day," Obama said. "It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last."

The fight continues, he declared, but "we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work." Obama promised to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" alongside former first lady Michelle Obama and those who are "committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have bene denied." Catherine Garcia

6:25 p.m.

Not long after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of murdering George Floyd last May, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hopped on the phone with Floyd's family. The video of the conversation was posted to Twitter by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd's family.

During the call, Biden and Harris celebrated the verdict, but the president said he is aiming "to get a lot more done" in regards to police reform. "Hopefully this is the momentum for the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act to get passed and have you sign," Crump said to Biden, who replied, "You got it, pal. That and a lot more."

"We really do believe that with your leadership," Harris said to the Floyd family, "and the president that we have in the White House that we're going to make something good come out of this tragedy."

Biden then jumped back in with a promise. "You better all get ready, because when we do it, we're gonna put you on Air Force One and get you here," he said. "I guarantee it." Watch the full clip below. Tim O'Donnell

6:18 p.m.

The family of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy who was brutally tortured and lynched in Mississippi in 1955, reportedly offered support to the family of George Floyd as they awaited the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, met with Deborah Watts, Till's cousin, briefly during the trial; the pair were recently brought together to speak more formally with each other by CNN. "We're both like, we're holding the rope and we don't want to let it go," Floyd said in that interview. "We're going to be on a mission, and we are here for justice." 

Said Watts, "What's unfortunate is that there's not much [that] has been changed. But we hold out hope that there will be. We are still fighting for justice after 66 years." 

On Tuesday, the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three counts in Floyd's death. But many do not see Tuesday's ruling alone as a satisfying conclusion of justice. "This verdict is but a piece of it," Vice President Kamala Harris told CNN. "And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations, that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and first-hand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing because of smartphones and the ubiquity of our ability to videotape in real time what is happening in front of our faces. And that is the reality of it." Jeva Lange

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