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Former judicial candidate who said ‘never trust a Muslim’ disciplined

Florida Supreme Court justices levied the punishment on retired Pasco lawyer and former judicial candidate Donald McBath.
Retired Pasco County family law attorney and once judicial candidate Don McBath was suspended by the Florida Bar for disparaging comments he made about the Muslim and LGBTQ communities on his social media accounts. [[Don McBath campaign / Twitter / Facebook]]
Retired Pasco County family law attorney and once judicial candidate Don McBath was suspended by the Florida Bar for disparaging comments he made about the Muslim and LGBTQ communities on his social media accounts. [[Don McBath campaign / Twitter / Facebook]]
Published Dec. 28, 2019

Retired Pasco County lawyer and former judicial candidate Donald McBath has been disciplined for making disparaging comments about Muslims and LGBTQ people on social media.

The Florida Supreme Court, which handles discipline against lawyers and judges, has handed McBath a 91-day suspension from practicing law for the comments, the Florida Bar announced Friday. Bar records show McBath retired from his law practice in 2018.

In a complaint, the Bar documented 15 comments the San Antonio family lawyer made on Facebook or Twitter. They included anti-Muslim remarks (“never trust a Muslim”), homophobic remarks (“Abstain, if you really have that mental illness. It’s not love”), comments against abortion, comments supportive of President Donald Trump’s travel ban (“They’re leaches on our system.”) and comments attacking “the left” and “liberals."

Related: A Tampa Bay lawyer tweets 'never trust a Muslim.' Now he wants to be a judge.

The Bar also noted his Twitter profile stated: “100% Trump supporter #MAGA; #KAG; proud DEPLORABLE; Pro-God; Christian; Pro-Life; Pro-Gun; Anti-Sharia; Constitutional Conservative; Former Major US Army.”

McBath ran for judge last year in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which comprises Pinellas and Pasco counties. He lost in the primary to former prosecutor Doneene Loar by more than 16 points.

During his candidacy, McBath confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times the comments were his, but said they wouldn’t prevent him from treating a Muslim or LGBTQ citizen fairly if one appeared before him as a judge.

The Bar nevertheless found his comments inappropriate, asserting he violated its rules regarding professional conduct and judicial canons. McBath “failed to maintain the dignity appropriate to judicial office and act in a manner that is consistent with impartiality, integrity, and independence of the judiciary."

McBath wrote a one-word response to the Bar’s allegations.

“Admit.”

Supreme Court justices levied the suspension and a $1,386 fine.

The lawyer already had his law license suspended for a year, Bar discipline records show, after justices found he mishandled a client’s family law case in 2016.

McBath has faced discipline in the past. He was admonished in 2014 for threatening an opposing party in a cease and desist letter. In 2007, he was suspended for 21 days for filing frivolous paperwork in a divorce case. He was publicly reprimanded in 2002 for committing trust account violations. And in 1997 he was admonished for not competently representing a client and for communicating poorly.

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