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MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice hired by Republicans to investigate Wisconsin’s 2020 election has appealed a contempt ruling against him related to his response to an open docket request. and a spirited appearance in court.
Michael Gableman last week appealed Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington’s June 15 order fining Gableman $2,000 a day until he complies with demands of open files from the liberal government watchdog group American Oversight. Remington, in a scathing order, also accused Gableman of unprofessional and misogynistic conduct related to his court appearance earlier this month, where he refused to answer questions and made sarcastic remarks about a lawyer.
Remington also forwarded its contempt order to the committee that sanctions attorneys for possible further action, including suspension or revocation of Gableman’s law license.
In his appeal filed on Friday, Gableman argued that the penalties imposed were “grossly disproportionate to the violation.” His attorneys also argued that the judge was wrong to deny Gableman’s motion to adjourn the contempt hearing and force him to testify without his attorney present.
His lawyers said the judge confused Gableman’s refusal to testify at the June 10 hearing with his rights to invoke the Fifth Amendment. Gableman should not have been found in contempt, his attorneys argued.
Gableman was also subpoenaed by American Oversight for a hearing Thursday in another public records case filed by the group. He filed three public lawsuits against Gableman, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who hired Gableman, and the Assembly.
American Oversight rode a winning streak ahead of Remington and Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn.
Gableman, in his appeal, requested that the case be heard by a three-judge panel of the Waukesha-based Wisconsin 2nd District Court of Appeals.
U.S. Oversight spokesman Clark Pettig said Tuesday that Gableman’s appeal was being reviewed and he had no further comment.
Gableman was hired a year ago by Vos, under pressure from Donald Trump to investigate the former president’s loss to President Joe Biden by just under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin. The investigation has cost taxpayers about $900,000 so far. Biden’s victory survived two recounts, multiple lawsuits, a nonpartisan audit and a review by a conservative law firm.
Gableman published two interim reports, but his work faced a barrage of bipartisan criticism. Vos suspended his work this spring pending the outcome of lawsuits challenging his ability to subpoena elected officials and others who worked on elections.
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