The Florida Bar launched a probe Wednesday into whether Rep. Matt Gaetz violated professional conduct rules by targeting former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in a menacing tweet on the eve of his testimony before a House panel.
“The Florida Bar is aware of the comments made in a tweet yesterday by Rep. Matt Gaetz and I can confirm we have opened an investigation,” spokeswoman Francine Andía Walker told the Tampa Bay Times.
“If rules have been violated, the Florida Bar will vigorously pursue appropriate discipline by the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Bar takes its responsibility of regulating lawyer conduct very seriously,” she added.
The announcement comes after the Florida Republican — a member of the Sunshine State’s bar — apologized for his threatening tweet, which he deleted.
“While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did,” Gaetz tweeted late Tuesday.
“I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry,” the staunch Trump supporter added.
In his earlier tweet aimed at Trump’s ex-fixer, Gaetz wrote: “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.”
Before issuing his mea culpa, Gaetz defended his tweet by saying, “This is what it looks like to compete in the marketplace of ideas.”
The tweet drew a sharp rebuke from legal experts, who compared it to witness intimidation.
In her response to the tweet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned House members “that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of House Committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary.”
Gaetz’s congressional office did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment by the Florida news outlet.
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