Attorney General again seeks to block Gableman’s expanded subpoenas | local government
Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general has again asked a Dane County judge to block or restrict subpoenas issued by Michael Gableman after a further extension of the former Supreme Court justice’s ongoing review of the state on the 2020 elections.
Gableman, who was hired last year by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, at a cost of $676,000 in taxpayers’ money, has previously demanded documents and/or interviews with the mayors of the Wisconsin’s five largest cities, the state’s top election official, immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera Action, and two companies that make vote counting systems, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems. The growing list of subpoenas has led to a plethora of legal battles over the one-party review.
Gableman filed the new subpoenas Dec. 28 demanding in-person testimony from Ann Jacobs, the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, from the administration’s State Department Information Director, Trina Zanow , and Sara Linski, a civil servant at the electoral commission. , according to court documents.
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The request for private meetings at Gableman’s temporary office in Brookfield, along with another set of election-related documents, prompted Attorney General Josh Kaul to file an application Friday with the Dane County Circuit Court seeking to block or to reduce the broad scope of subpoenas.
In the filing, Kaul reiterated his earlier position that state law requires any meeting with Gableman to take place in a public place before a legislative committee. He added in a Friday letter to Gableman that, pending a resolution in the case, Jacobs, Linski and Zanow will not appear for the depositions requested in the subpoenas.
“Subpoenas for the testimony of additional individuals in camera are just as unlawful as previously issued subpoenas,” Kaul said in a statement. must take place in accordance with the law. »
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford earlier this month denied Kaul’s request to block an earlier Gableman subpoena requesting an in-person meeting with the Commission’s nonpartisan administrator. Wisconsin campaigner Meagan Wolfe.
Lanford also denied Gableman’s request to dismiss the case entirely, a move that left the door open for a future challenge from Kaul, who represents Wolfe.
“If the defendants seek to enforce the subpoenas before this case is decided on the merits by contempt, imprisonment or other means similar to the pending action in Waukesha County … plaintiffs can certainly file another motion as a temporary injunction that the Court will schedule as soon as its timing permits,” Lanford wrote.
Lanford’s referral was to another pending case challenging a separate request by Gableman for the Waukesha County Sheriff to compel the mayors of Madison and Green Bay to meet with him or face jail time.
In his original lawsuit, Kaul argued that Gableman issued “numerous subpoenas to state and local election officials in connection with an unlawful investigation focused on debunked theories” regarding the November 2020 election.
Gableman made baseless claims at a 2020 pro-Donald Trump rally that the Wisconsin election was stolen by bureaucrats, and he met and hired people for his investigation who previously worked for Trump and espoused the theories election conspiracy.
Biden beat Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin. A recount, multiple legal challenges and two in-depth reviews of election processes — including one by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty — found no evidence of widespread fraud.
The state has multiple, overlapping safeguards aimed at preventing ineligible voters from voting, tampering with ballots, or altering vote totals.
Nothing in the emails suggests there were issues with the election that contributed significantly to Trump’s loss of 20,682 votes to Joe Biden.
“Despite concerns about statewide election procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure,” Sen. Rob Cowles said Friday.
The grants were awarded to all municipalities in Wisconsin that requested them, and in the amounts they requested.
“The application of US Department of Justice guidelines among Wisconsin court clerks is inconsistent,” the memo reads.
“To put it simply, we did not break the law,” said the chairman of the electoral commission.
The memo says that state law gives the Audit Office full access to all records during an audit investigation and that federal law and guidelines do not prohibit an election official from submit election records.
Drop boxes were used across Wisconsin, including areas where Trump won the vast majority of counties.
Thousands of voting certificates reviewed in Madison are a window into how election officials handled a pandemic and a divided and unnecessary state government.
“I don’t think you instill trust in a process by blindly assuming there’s nothing to do here,” said WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg.
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