Judge orders Wisconsin investigator not to delete records

A judge has ordered that former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman not delete any records his office has compiled, even if they are not subject to an open records request
File - In this June 6, 2011 file photo, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Gableman,...
File - In this June 6, 2011 file photo, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Gableman, speaks during session at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Gableman will not seek a second term next year, creating an open seat on the state's highest court unless he resigns and a replacement is named before the election. A person with direct knowledge of his decision but who was not authorized to speak publicly about it told The Associated Press of Gableman's decision Thursday June 15, 2017.(John Hart | John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal, Pool Photo via AP File)
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered that former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman not delete any records his office has compiled, even if they are not subject to an open records request.

The order from Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost came a week after the liberal government watchdog group American Oversight filed its fourth open records lawsuit related to Gableman's investigation. The most recent lawsuit sought to stop Gableman from deleting records after he testified in another case that he deleted records that were not responsive to open records requests or useful to his work.

The judge entered a temporary restraining order preventing Gableman from deleting records until after the case can be heard. Judges in two other lawsuits brought by American Oversight have ordered Gableman's office or the state Assembly to stop deleting or destroying records that are responsive to open records requests in those cases.

Gableman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired Gableman to investigate the 2020 election, but put the probe on hold in April. President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by just under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, a victory that has withstood recounts, multiple state and federal lawsuits, an audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and a report by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. An Associated Press review of Wisconsin and other battleground states also found far too little fraud to have tipped the election for Trump.