Judge finds Gableman in contempt of court after refusing to answer questions during heated court appearance
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Michael Gableman, the Republican attorney hired to review the 2020 election, was found in contempt of court by a Dane County judge after he refused to answer questions over a lawsuit seeking records related to the probe.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington held Gableman's in contempt after he was forced to testify and explain why his Office of Special Counsel failed to comply with a court order to maintain records related to the election review.
It comes after earlier in the week Judge Remington suggested Gableman's staffer, who's responsible for handling record requests,, should get a lawyer for disobeying court orders or he could face jail time.
This is what led to a testy exchange in court when Gableman took the stand.
"On Wednesday, when the judge starts telling my office if I were you I'd get a lawyer because you can go to jail all of a sudden -- I think my personal rights are at stake too," said Gableman.
Gableman added, "I will not answer any more questions. I see you have a bail officer here. You want to put me in jail Remington?"
Remington responded by telling Gableman to behave himself, insisting he should know better after serving as state Supreme Court Justice.
"This is my courtroom," Remington said. "You had a courtroom in Burnett County. You had a courtroom in the east wing of the Capitol. I don't need to tell you how I expect you to control yourself."
Gableman then refused to answer questions besides his name and job, arguing he was being "railroaded," and called out Remington for being a partisan judge.
Outside the courtroom, Gableman admitted to deleting records he believed were irrelevant to the taxpayer-funded probe.
“Of course we followed the law, but the law does not mean that I have to keep every scrap of paper with some writing on it,” said Gableman. ‘If I had to keep every scrap of paper…I would need a warehouse.”
The lawsuit is one of three filed by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight seeking records related to Gableman's review.
The Office of Special Counsel has provided hundreds of documents to attorneys for American Oversight, but they argue there's more to uncover and the public should know about it since the review is being paid for by taxpayers.
A separate Dane County judge has granted victories to American Oversight and in one instance held Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in contempt for not producing records requested.
Gableman has spent over $900,000 of his $676,000 budget, according to documents requested under the state open records law.