According to Florida Bar guidelines, once the bar’s grievance committee decides that the alleged conduct might have violated ethics guidelines, attorneys have 15 days to respond to complaints against them. Attorneys for the bar then investigate the matter. If the grievance committee finds probable cause to believe that a violation took place, it then refers its findings to the state supreme court, which then makes a ruling and, if applicable, apply sanctions.

Several lawyers made the argument that the congressman had, indeed, engaged in a form of witness intimidation by suggesting that something nefarious would happen to Cohen’s wife once he went to prison.

“It’s that last line that seems really problematic,” emailed Stephen Vladeck, a professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, “‘She’s about to learn a lot…’ What is the test implied in that statement, as opposed to the insinuation that as a result of his testimony, his wife is going to come into negative information about him?”