Matt Gaetz can't currently practice law in Florida -- here's why

Matt Gaetz can't currently practice law in Florida -- here's why
Image via Screengrab / Fox News

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has yet another problem to add to the onslaught of legal woes he is currently facing. According to The Daily Beast, the Florida lawmaker's license to practice law has lapsed. Subsequently, he cannot practice law. As of Wednesday, October 19, the Florida Bar Director had Gaetz listed as "delinquent" and "not eligible to practice law in Florida."

The publication reports: "Gaetz failed to pay his $265 annual dues before the Oct. 1 deadline, which means that he now owes an extra $150 reinstatement fee, a $50 late fee, and would need to sign a petition asking the group's executive director to let him back in."

Joel Valdez, the communications director for Gaetz's office, has released a statement suggesting the lawmaker no longer has a desire to practice law in the courtroom. "Congressman Gaetz is no longer actively engaged in the practice of law. He is focused on representing his constituents in Congress, not the courtroom," said Valdez.

In wake of the latest development, Gaetz is being scrutinized for failing to prioritize his professionalism. Daniel Uhlfelder, a Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. attorney who resides in Gaetz's congressional district, offered his opinion on the lawmaker's delinquent law license status.

“He clearly doesn't take his law license very seriously when he doesn't take the time to pay the $265 dues," said Uhlfelder. “He's not a serious lawyer. He's not a serious congressman. He's not a serious person. This is one small but symbolic example of that."

However, Cris Dosev, a real estate developer and a Desert Storm Marine Corps veteran, believes there could be a reason for the decision. "It might be a calculated move. I think he's preemptively trying to remove a level of scrutiny from the Bar," said Dosev, who unsuccessfully ran for office to unseat Gaetz in the 2020 Republican primary.

The latest news comes as Gaetz braces for charges amid a litany of sex trafficking allegations for his alleged sexual involvement with underage girls. If Gaetz is ultimately found guilty of the suspected crimes, he could ultimately be disbarred anyway.

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