June 19, 2021

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How a former Yankees and Red Sox star is connected to Matt Gaetz sex trafficking investigation – NJ.com

2 min read

A sex-trafficking scandal that is inching closer to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters, includes an investigation of a 2019 event billed as a “Trump Defender Gala,” which named ex-Yankees and Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon as an honored guest.

According to the Daily Beast, Gaetz was a featured speaker at the Oct. 26 fundraiser at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. The Daily Beast further reports:

Two witnesses present recalled friends reconvening at Gaetz’s hotel room for an after-party, where [Megan] Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of those witnesses distinctly remembers Zalonka pulling the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling a bill of cash, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine.

Damon, according to a handout included in the Daily Beast report, was the top name in a list of featured guests that included six other current or former government officials.

On Friday, it was announced that Joel Greenberg, an indicted confidant of Gaetz, has struck a deal with federal prosecutors to reduce his criminal exposure and plans to help investigators.

Damon, who played for the Yankees from 2006-09 and the Red Sox from 2002-05, has been public in his support for Trump. In a DUI stop in February, Damon told police, “I know people are trying to target me because I’m a Trump supporter.”

Damon was charged with resisting an officer without violence. He also was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol and running a stop sign. His wife, Michelle Mangan-Damon, was charged with battery on an officer and resisting with violence.

TMZ reported Thursday “prosecutors are not trying to throw the book at Damon … instead, offering him a pretty sweet deal that involves cutting a check and doing some community service.”

We spoke with Damon’s attorney, Stuart Hyman, who tells us Johnny agreed to enter into a pre-trial diversion program — which involves making a donation to charity and completing a certain amount of hours of community service. He did not mention the number of hours Damon agreed to. If Damon successfully completes 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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