MADISON, Wis. - The former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice whom Republicans hired to investigate the 2020 election has made a reasonable effort to find records from his office and is no longer in contempt of court, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired Michael Gableman in June 2021 at taxpayer expense to investigate unfounded claims that Joe Biden somehow stole the election from former President Donald Trump. Multiple reviews and recounts have determined that Biden's victory was legitimate.
Liberal watchdog group American Oversight filed a series of lawsuits seeking records from Gableman's office.
Dane County Judge Frank Remington, who was presiding over one of the cases, held Gableman in contempt in June for refusing to comply with American Oversight's requests and for berating him from the witness stand. He ordered Gableman to conduct a comprehensive search for the records and fined him $2,000 a day until he complied.
Remington released an order Wednesday saying Gableman submitted an affidavit on June 28 saying he had conducted the search. Remington said the affidavit was vague but he was satisfied that Gableman had made a reasonable effort to find the records and held that he was no longer in contempt. He ordered the former justice to pay $24,000 to cover the 12 days between the contempt finding and the affidavit submittal.
American Oversight attorney Christa Westerberg told Remington in court on Tuesday that they had received most of the records they requested but were still missing several documents. Gableman's attorney, James Bopp, insisted that those records didn't exist and that Gableman satisfied the group's request.
Bopp didn't immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment.
Vos fired Gableman on Friday after Gableman endorsed Vos' primary opponent, putting an end to the investigation. The probe has cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million but turned up no evidence of widespread fraud.