Rep. Matt Gaetz has been cleared by the Florida Bar’s grievance committee, which was investigating his intimidating tweet about former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen earlier this year.
The Florida Republican and vocal Trump supporter announced Wednesday via Twitter that “no disciplinary action” would be made against him for a tweet he sent in February addressed to Cohen the night before he testified to the House Oversight Committee about his work for President Trump.
The investigation examined whether Gaetz, who is licensed to practice law in Florida, violated state rules for lawyers when he tweeted, “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…”
The association, as the highest governing body over licensed lawyers in Florida, was tasked with investigating dozens of complaints issued by Florida lawyers against Gaetz, including intimidation of a witness. The Florida Bar confirmed the grievance committee’s decision after it took up the case in May.
“The Florida Bar grievance committee that investigated the case found no probable cause to believe that Gaetz violated any of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and will be issuing a letter of advice. The letter will be public record when it is sent to Gaetz, likely on Friday,” a bar representative told the Washington Examiner.
An infographic on the bar’s website shows that when the grievance committee finds no probable cause, the “case is closed.” However, bar rules dictate that the finding “shall not preclude the reopening of the case and further proceedings therein.” The grievance committee’s file is also forwarded to bar counsel for disposition in accordance with bar policy.
“I thank the Bar committee members for their sound judgment,” Gaetz said in concluding his tweet, along with a thumbs-up emoji.
The Florida Bar has informed me that the Grievance Committee found “No Probable Cause” that I violated the rules of my profession. They are taking no disciplinary action against me & are sending a letter of advice.
I thank the Bar committee members for their sound judgment. 👍
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz)
August 14, 2019
The 37-year-old congressman, who has represented Florida’s 1st Congressional District since 2017, is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for the tweet. Gaetz deleted and apologized for the message, claiming he never meant to threaten anybody.
In a phone call reported by Vanity Fair in March, Gaetz told Cohen he chose his words “poorly” in his text.
“Congressman Gaetz, I cannot thank you enough for your message,” Cohen wrote back. “The tweet, sadly, has only made a bad situation worse … not only for my wife but for my children as well. With your permission, I would like to share your message with my wife and children. Hopefully, it will bring a little peace to their damaged life. We all make mistakes especially in this crazy partisan time. Thank you again for your text and I hope that the tweet does not cause you any harm. If it does, and there is anything I can do to help you correct it, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to assist.”
Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a handful of crimes, including bank fraud, lying to Congress, and illegal campaign contributions, began his three-year prison sentence earlier this year.
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