A Democratic Party activist from Miami filed a bar complaint Thursday against Florida‘s District One, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Steve Simeonidis alleges that on Oct. 14, 2019, Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, improperly intruded upon a closed-door deposition being conducted by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the committees on Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform.
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It also alleges that nine days later Gaetz again improperly intruded on a closed-door deposition "related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry against the now impeached president of the United States.
"Both intrusions are improper, unprofessional and unethical, and were meant only to feed Gaetz‘s unjustifiably large ego and penchant for grandstanding," the complaint states.
Gaetz attempted to use both ventures into forbidden space to highlight his and fellow Republicans‘ contention that House impeachment hearings were being conducted inappropriately in private.
The congressman called the complaint lodged by Miami Democrats an obvious response to his "filing charges against (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi for destroying the president‘s speech like a toddler.
"I don‘t work for Miami Democrats or the Florida Bar. I work for the Northwest Floridians who have overwhelmingly elected me," Gaetz said. "They seem pleased with my vigorous defense of the president."
Simeonidis contends Gaetz‘s October theatrics were in direct violation of operative rules contained in the 116th Congress Regulations for Use of Deposition Authority.
The complaint states that by barging into the closed hearings, Gaetz disrupted the legal process, violated his obligations to the Florida Bar Association and broke two bar rules.
BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions. Still inside - more details to come. https://t.co/fHhqkZ6x3Z— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 23, 2019
It states Gaetz broke one rule by violating his oath as a lawyer to support the Constitution of the United States.
He broke a second rule which states that a "lawyer must not, ... unlawfully obstruct another party‘s access to evidence ... nor counsel or assist another person to do any such act" or "knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists," the complaint claims.
The violations give the bar "grounds for disciplinary actions," the complaint said.
"It is clear that Gaetz is in flagrant violation," the complaint said. "Moreover, this is not the first time that Gaetz‘s conduct has failed to reflect favorably on him as a member of the Florida Bar."
Gaetz was called out by the bar in August after making statements construed by some to have been threats directed at President Donald Trump‘s former private attorney, Michael Cohen.
Gaetz‘s conduct "was not consistent with the high standards of our profession," the bar said after reviewing the complaint filed following the Cohen comments.