By Ana Ceballos, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Bar on Wednesday opened an investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who sent a tweet accusing Michael Cohen of infidelity as President Donald Trump’s former attorney prepared to testify before Congress.
Gaetz, a Northwest Florida Republican who is an outspoken ally of Trump, said complaints stemming from his tweet Tuesday were “frivolous.” In the tweet, he accused Cohen, who is married, of having multiple “girlfriends.”
“It seems that The Florida Bar, by its rules, is required to investigate even the most frivolous complaints,” Gaetz told The News Service of Florida.
However, Francine Walker, a spokeswoman for The Florida Bar, said the organization will investigate potential conduct violations any time the words of a Florida lawyer result in complaints.
After Gaetz’s tweet Tuesday, legal observers and Democrats said the Republican was engaging in witness tampering.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…” Gaetz said in the tweet, which has since been deleted.
Gaetz apologized and said the tweet did not show his intent. That intent, he later told reporters, was to test Cohen’s credibility, not threaten. The tweet came on the eve of highly anticipated congressional testimony by Cohen that could be damaging to Trump. Cohen is heading to prison after pleading guilty last year to criminal charges including lying to Congress.
Under Florida Bar rules, Walker said she was unable to share any other information at this time about the investigation into Gaetz. But Walker confirmed it was in response to the Fort Walton Beach Republican’s tweet.
“The Florida Bar takes its responsibility of regulating lawyer conduct very seriously,” Walker said in a statement. “It handles thousands of complaints each year, filing charges and pursuing discipline against lawyers whose professional conduct is not in keeping with the rules.”
In addition to being a Trump ally, Gaetz has been described as a right-hand man to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Gaetz’ influence on the DeSantis administration can be seen in issues such as the governor’s focus on lifting a ban on smoking medical marijuana.
Gaetz was admitted to the Bar in 2008 after attending law school at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, according to information on The Florida Bar website. He has not faced any discipline from the Bar during the past 10 years.
Gaetz was elected to the Florida House in 2010 before winning an open seat in 2016 in Congressional District 1, a conservative stronghold. He has become a fixture on cable news shows supporting Trump.
Why is there no more about Matt Gaetz other than this article dated two years ago?
Daddy may well buy him out of this situation also. Maybe Mueller will pick it up as Witness intimidation.
I thought with repeat DUI offenders you get to go to jail, and lose your vehicle also. Oh right, that’s for the average person; silly me.
How about the 5 DUIs he has…Opps…Daddy got him off with recklessly driving….loser
Gaetz should study the Rocky Hanna playbook.
Step 1 Gather information that misguides readers AND author summaries for each section that are false and intended to be misleading.
Step 2 Circulate the information to state and federal suthoriities along with tv and media outlets.
Step 3 Admit to the school board attorney Hank Coxe, that you had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, you authored the false and misleading summaries, you circulated the notebook costing taxpayers over $600,000 in investigation costs.
Step 4 Fearing steps 1-3 will not work have a PI hired who trespasses on private property, alters photos and video footage then releases the pictures to the media.
Step 5 Fearing step 4 will fail, hire a person to use a false name at a school board meeting to share the altered photos in public
Step 6 Hope everyone forgives and forgets you dated a teacher you supervised and evaluated who was bullied into a settlement agreement to leave your school and you had to be sued to pay child support after 10 years of not paying.
Step 6 Once elected, implement a hit list non renewing anyone who you thought was out to embarrass you during the campaign.
Step 7 Have a school board that refuses to discuss your unethical behavior.
Gaetz learn from Hanna.
Note to Gaetz:
Stay off the tweeter and all social media when you have been hitting the booze.
The Florida Bar finds Gaetz guilty of TUI (tweeting under the influence).
Once again Matt, talk with Rocky Hanna about affidavit that describes Rocky as being in “a drunken stupor”.
Gaetz appears to be applying for a bigger role associated with the Trump family by trying to be a tweeter enforcer. Wish he would spend more time accomplishing things for his constituents rather than prostituting himself to whomever just to try and stay relevant; cause even bad Press coverage is better to him than no coverage.