A sex trafficking scandal that draws closer to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters, includes an investigation into a 2019 event billed as a “Trump Defender Gala,” which named the former outfielder Yankees and Red Sox Johnny Damon as guest of honor.
According to the Daily Beast, Gaetz was a guest speaker at the October 26 fundraiser at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. The Daily Beast further reports:
Two witnesses in attendance recalled friends meeting again in Gaetz’s hotel room for an after-party, where [Megan] Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of these witnesses clearly remembers Zalonka taking the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling up a cash bill, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine.
Damon, according to a document included in the Daily Beast report, was the main name of a featured guest list that included six other current and former government officials.
On Friday, it was announced that Joel Greenberg, a convicted Gaetz confidant, had reached a deal with federal prosecutors to reduce his criminal exposure and planned to help investigators.
Damon, who played for the Yankees from 2006 to 2009 and the Red Sox from 2002 to 2005, has been publicly supportive of Trump. During a DUI shutdown in February, Damon told police, “I know people are trying to target me because I’m a Trump supporter.”
Damon has been accused of resisting an officer without violence. He was also cited for driving under the influence of alcohol and operating a stop sign. His wife, Michelle Mangan-Damon, was charged with assaulting an officer and resisted violently.
TMZ reported Thursday that “prosecutors aren’t trying to throw the book at Damon … instead, offering him a pretty cool offer that involves cutting a check and doing community service.” “
We spoke with Damon’s attorney, Stuart Hyman, who tells us that Johnny has agreed to participate in a pre-trial diversion program – which involves donating to charity and performing a number of hours of community service. He didn’t mention the number of hours Damon had agreed to. If Damon successfully closes the terms of the deal, Hyman says prosecutors have agreed to drop the case.
His wife’s charges are still pending, TMZ reported.
Damon last played in 2012 with the Cleveland Indians. He retired after 18 MLB seasons with 2,769 hits and two All-Star selections.
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