Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Florida Politics
  4. /
  5. The Buzz

‘No probable cause’ Matt Gaetz violated Florida Bar rules in tweets at Michael Cohen

The lawyer association investigated the Panhandle Republican after complaints of witness tampering.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions former White House counsel for the Nixon Administration John Dean during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in mid-June on the Mueller Report on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether Gaetz tried intimidating Michael Cohen before the former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump testified to Congress about Trump. [ANDREW HARNIK  | AP]
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions former White House counsel for the Nixon Administration John Dean during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in mid-June on the Mueller Report on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House Ethics Committee is investigating whether Gaetz tried intimidating Michael Cohen before the former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump testified to Congress about Trump. [ANDREW HARNIK | AP]
Published Aug. 14, 2019
Updated Aug. 14, 2019

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz won’t face discipline from the Florida Bar for posting menacing messages on social media aimed at President Donald Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.

Gaetz announced Wednesday on Twitter the results of a months-long investigation into his actions. Florida Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker confirmed that the organization found “no probable cause” that the Panhandle Republican violated its rules for lawyers.

“I thank the Bar committee members for their sound judgment,” said Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach.

The House ethics committee is also reviewing the incident.

The investigations against Gaetz stem from a tweet he sent on Feb. 27, the eve of Cohen’s testimony before a House committee.

Gaetz, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, wrote: “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 ... ”

MORE ON GAETZ: In deep red Florida Panhandle, DeSantis and Gaetz campaign on Trump

Gaetz called Jared Kushner to help Ron DeSantis fill his staff

Matt Gaetz’s talk of mug shot raises questions about DUI arrest

He deleted the tweet, but not before it went viral. Legal experts compared it to intimidation of a witness. Walter Schaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics replied to Gaetz’s tweet with the federal statute number for tampering with a witness. Sen. Rick Scott, a fellow Florida Republican, called the tweet, “disgusting.”

Gaetz later said he “should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry.” However, he maintained that he was not attempting to threaten Cohen, who was scheduled to testify before Congress the next day.

The Florida Bar soon after said it was reviewing the incident. In May, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Bar’s initial inquiry determined further investigation was justified, and sent the case to its grievance committee to determine if there was probable cause for a violation.

That committee decided there was not.

Sign up for our weekly Florida politics newsletter.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. State Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, speaks before volunteers with the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action outside the Florida Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. [[LAWRENCE MOWER | Tampa Bay Times]]
    Like it has since the Parkland massacre, the gun debate is growing fierce in Tallahassee. But there are some significant changes this year.
  2. West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James talks with his Director of Communications Kathleen Walter while going over the state of the city address in his office at the City of West Palm Beach municipal building in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James leads a city about the same the size as Buttigieg’s South Bend. Here’s what his day looks like. Is this presidential experience?
  3. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “Death is indeed different,” wrote the lone dissenting justice. “This Court has taken a giant step backward."
  4. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  5. Wichita State Shockers center Jaime Echenique (21) and USF Bulls guard David Collins (0) battle for the loose ball during the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa on Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Lawmakers may require public colleges and universities to ask permission before selling naming rights.
  6. The Florida Capitol at the start of the legislative session on Jan. 14, 2020, in Tallahassee. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    If the proposal is approved by the Senate, it would appear before voters in November.
  7. Robert Ray, a member of President Trump's defense team, arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The U.S. Senate plunges into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two days but solidly rejecting for now Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s “trifecta” of offenses. Trump himself claims he wants top aides to testify, but qualified that by suggesting there were “national security” concerns to allowing their testimony. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) [CLIFF OWEN  |  AP]
    Trump reportedly wanted a star-studded team capable of performing on TV.
  8. Algae laps along the shoreline of the St. Lucie River in 2019, when heavy rains forced the release of tainted water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. The releases spawned massive blue-green algae blooms.
    Environmentalists say Florida faces a water quality crisis. But lawmakers are watering down rules to tackle fertilizer runoff.
  9. Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum told a House committee that the state should change state law to limit cities and counties from filing lawsuits against corporations on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. [LAWRENCE MOWER | Tampa Bay Times]
    Former Attorney General Bill McCollum said “it’s a big mess.” Cities and counties disagree.
  10. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a protocolary meeting of the Permanent Council at the Organization of the American States, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy) [MICHAEL A. MCCOY  |  AP]
    The U.S. State Department wouldn’t comment on the official visit, except to say doors open to the public at 4 p.m.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement