Gableman hit with $2K daily fine for contempt after heated court appearance

NOW: Gableman hit with $2K daily fine for contempt after heated court appearance

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) — The Republican attorney hired to examine Wisconsin's 2020 election will be fined $2,000 a day until he complies with a court order to maintain records related to the review.

Micheal Gableman, who’s leading the election investigation, will be fined $2,000 a day and could face additional sanctions for his outbursts in court after refusing to answer questions during a court appearance over records related to his probe, according to a written order issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington Wednesday.

Remington called out Gableman for his "unprofessional conduct" in his order. While in court, Gableman had testy exchanges with Remington on Friday after being forced to testify about an open records lawsuit brought forth by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight.

“The circus Gableman created in the courtroom destroyed any sense of decorum and irreparably damaged the public’s perception of the judicial process,” Remington wrote. 

Gableman could face additional punishment after making comments on a live microphone during a recess where he mocked Remington and made snide remarks about American Oversight attorney Christa Westerberg.

“This is his [Remington’s] time to shine,” Gableman said while talking to an attorney who represents Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in the lawsuit. “That's when his advocacy comes in. He's not interested in right or wrong…I had a courtroom and I never acted like that. Jesus.”

Gableman mockingly continued, suggesting Remington wanted Westerberg to come back into his chambers, comments Remington called “disruptive” and “misogynistic”

“Gableman's demeaning conduct has discredited the profession and every other person sworn 'to commit themselves to live by the constitutional processes of our system,” Remington wrote.

Remington forwarded his scathcing order to state officials to evaluate Gableman’s conduct in court. The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation will determine whether to discipline Gabelman for his conduct.

Attorneys representing Gableman can appeal the decision, but they did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said it’s “astounding” a former Supreme Court Justice would display “such disregard for proper legal behavior and decorum in the courtroom.”

“It is difficult to take seriously his charge that the judge overseeing his case was acting as a ‘partisan advocate’” Burden said.

Gableman was hired by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos last year and both are in the center of three ongoing lawsuits filed by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight seeking records about the election investigation.

Gableman's investigation has cost taxpayers over $900,000, surpassing his original budget of $676,000.

It’s still unclear who will have to foot the bill for Gableman’s legal fees, but Vos has said those will not count toward the investigations budget.

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