Spencer: Subpoenas dropped for Milwaukee surrounding 2020 election probe

Spencer: Subpoenas dropped for Milwaukee surrounding 2020 election probe

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer sent out a statement on Saturday, Oct. 9 saying that former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gabelman, on behalf of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Voss, has withdrawn the subpoena directed at Milwaukee's mayor and election officials.

Just Wednesday, Gableman, who was hired to investigate the election, asked the mayors of Green Bay, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Madison and Racine to provide "all documents contained in your files and/or in your custody, possession, or control pertaining to the Election". He also compelled those mayors to testify in Brookfield on Oct. 22, and previously served subpoenas to the same five cities' election clerks, compelling them to meet with him at the same location Oct. 15.

As of Thursday, Gabelman canceled interviews with city election officials and mayors just days after issuing another round of sweeping subpoenas. He called officials and told them they will no longer have to meet  with him or provide thousands - if not millions - of pages of documents related to the election. Gabelman denied that the subpoenas had been dropped on Friday. 

You can read Spencer's full statement below:

"On behalf of the City of Milwaukee, it is in the best interests of all that former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Gabelman, on behalf of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Voss, has withdrawn the subpoena directed at our mayor and election officials. Our office will cooperate with any legitimate Open Records requests for documents and/or data. Our focus, as always, is to continue to improve Milwaukee's election processes such that the public remains confident that every election is fair and equitable.

At Thursday's news conference at City Hall, which I held to discuss the election subpoenas, afterward, a reporter asked about the operation of the City Attorney's Office. This matter has received recent media attention and I will address it now. When I defeated and replaced the incumbent city attorney, Grant Langley, he had been in office since 1984. The People of Milwaukee wanted change, and I have brought change and will continue to do so. While there are some who don't accept this new reality, there are also certain facts the public should be made aware of.

One of the things that should be noted is there are several open cases that are many, many years old, nearly up to two decades. Yes, approaching 20 years old. A number of these cases are far from resolution or even ongoing attention. Justice delayed is often justice denied.

To be clear, I intend to aggressively represent my clients, which are the City Government and People of Milwaukee. One other matter should be addressed. After the press conference yesterday, the question was raised about complaints filed by employees in the City Attorney's Office. Our office intends to follow the most modern and up-to-date, best practices on employment relations. I will consult professionals to ensure that such practices take place. As part of those best practices, maintaining the confidentiality of employee personnel records is of paramount importance.

Therefore, our office will not be responding to any specific complaint as that would obviously violate the principle of protection of the privacy of the employee. We live in a free country and unless there is a legal restraint anyone can say whatever they want under their constitutional right to Free Speech. But I have a duty as a lawyer and as the head of the City Attorney's Office to ensure that we respect and follow not only the laws, but the traditions which we have in place, and I will continue to do so.

Further questions on employment issues should be addressed to our office in a manner that will allow us to respond appropriately. However, that response will not involve commenting on any specific employee, nor specific complaint. Any City of Milwaukee employee as well as any employee in the state has the right to file a complaint if they feel it is appropriate and those complaints will be handled consistent with the state and federal laws which might apply."

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