On Tuesday, Gaetz tweeted directly to Cohen, using Cohen's Twitter address, a message that said, "Hey @ MichaelCohen212 – Are your wife and stepfather aware of your friends?"
"Maybe tonight would be a good time for this cat, I wonder if she will stay faithful when you're in jail, she's about to learn a lot …" wrote Gaetz.
Gaetz's tweet was almost immediately criticized as a possible witness to Cohen's amendment, whose attorney accused Trump and current president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, of trying to intimidate Cohen. for that he does not testify before Congress.
Cohen's Lawyer, Lanny Davis, said: "We will not respond to Mr. Gaetz's heinous lies and personal defamations, except to say that we hope his House colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, repudiate his words and his conduct. "
Gaetz, Trump's close ally, first defended his tweet by stating, "This is not a witness tampering – it's a witness test."
But he suppressed it and apologized a few hours later, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of D-Calif., Urged all members of Congress to avoid making statements. may impair the ability of committees "to obtain truthful and complete information necessary for the performance of their duties". functions. "
It was "not my intention to threaten, as some believe," said Gaetz in a tweet. "I delete the tweet and I should have chosen words that show my intent better." I'm sorry. "
The Daily Beast first reported that the Florida Bar had opened an investigation into Gaetz in response to a complaint filed by a member of the general public.
"The Florida Bar is aware of what was said yesterday in a tweet by Florida Bar Representative Matt Gaetz, and I can confirm that we have opened an investigation," the group said in a statement to CNBC.
"Whenever the words or actions of a Florida lawyer give rise to complaints, the Florida Bar will conduct a thorough investigation of these complaints through its established grievance process to determine whether the bar rules have been raped, "said the group. "If the rules have been broken, the Florida Bar will vigorously pursue proper discipline by the Florida Supreme Court."
According to the Florida Bar's rules of conduct, lawyers "should use the procedures provided by law only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others".
During Cohen's testimony on Wednesday, US Virgin Islands representative Stacey Plaskett told Cohen: "I want to apologize for the inappropriate comments and tweets that have been made by other members. this instance. "
"And as a former attorney and as a former ethics attorney in the House, I think that at a minimum, there should be a referral to the ethics committee on the Intimidation and falsification of witnesses under [U.S. Criminal Code section] 1512 by my colleague Matt Gaetz, and he may be sent to court. "
Gaetz's spokesperson, in response to a request for comment, said: "It seems that the Florida Bar, by its rules, is required to investigate the most frivolous complaints."