Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz—a racist, conspiracy theory spreading, maniac—spent the bulk of his Wednesday morning ranting and raving during a House Judiciary hearing on whether or not to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. But at the same time that Gaetz was gnashing his teeth in defense of the White House, his home state’s bar association was busy announcing a new phase of its investigation into Gaetz’s alleged witness intimidation of President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Bar Association has concluded its initial review of the threatening tweets sent by Gaetz on the eve of Cohen’s congressional testimony, and concluded that further investigation is warranted—a sign, the Times noted, that the bar feels there is reason to believe Gaetz’s tweet may have violated Florida’s rules for lawyers.
Gaetz has since apologized for his pre-testimony tweet asking whether Cohen’s “wife & father-in-law know about [his] girlfriends?” saying he was not trying to intimidate Cohen, and that he “should have chosen words that better showed my intent.”
The allegations against Gaetz will now be sent to a state bar grievance committee, a panel of “lawyers and nonlawyers [...] responsible for continuing the investigation of possible lawyer misconduct referred by Bar discipline attorneys.”
In an email to Splinter, FBA spokesperson Francine Andía Walker declined to “discuss or comment on possible discipline that may be ordered by the Supreme Court,” but did mention the grievance committee statutes, which state that Gaetz’s case will be investigated by a member of the committee.
If the committee finds probable cause to do something with Gaetz’s case, it would then file an official complaint with the state Supreme Court, although the FBA claims most cases are settled before they actually go to trial.
I have reached out to Gaetz’s office for comment on this development and will update this story if he or his staff respond.