August 18, 2022

Judge presses legal professional for Vos in records lawsuit

In an open information case trying to find sanctions towards Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, a law firm for the speaker said he had small involvement with a sweeping investigation Vos ordered of the 2020 election.

The testimony from Vos’ chief legal counsel Steve Fawcett prompted Dane County Circuit Courtroom Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn to interject on a number of occasions, at just one stage inquiring Fawcett if he comprehended that when it comes to data of the investigation, “the buck stops” with Vos.

Monday’s listening to stemmed from a person of the 3 open information lawsuits filed by the liberal watchdog team American Oversight. The team sued Vos and former point out Supreme Court docket Justice Michael Gableman, whom Vos tapped to direct a wide investigation of the 2020 election, arguing they unsuccessful to sufficiently respond to documents requests linked to the probe. American Oversight is inquiring Bailey-Rihn to force Vos’ office to convert about more information of the investigation, arguing that proof exhibits they did not adequately react the first time.

Fawcett was detailed as the contact human being for Vos’ place of work on Gableman’s agreement, but he testified that he experienced not experienced Gableman on how to answer to data requests, which includes what data to maintain. All through just about a few several hours of testimony, he routinely explained to American Oversight attorney Christa Westerberg that he did not individually oversee Gableman’s reaction to the group’s records request.

“Did you visit the particular counsel’s business office to assist with the lookup?” Westerberg asked.

“I did not,” Fawcett replied.

“Have you at any time been to all those workplaces?” she responded.

“I have not,” reported Fawcett.

“Do you know where by they are?” Westerberg continued.

“I do not,” Fawcett said.

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“Do you know if you can find any one else associated with the Wisconsin Assembly who frequented the Workplace of Distinctive Counsel’s offices to research for individuals data?” Westerberg requested.

“I have no thought,” Fawcett said.

Vos employed Gableman previous calendar year to oversee the taxpayer-funded investigation at an estimated charge of $676,000.

Gableman, who has been doing work out of an workplace in Brookfield, has argued that his position is akin to a prosecutor, and that revealing all documents related to his case could jeopardize his investigation. So significantly, the judges hearing these open documents disputes have seen the conditions in a different way.

Decide Bailey-Rihn requested Vos to turn around records associated to the scenario past yr. On Monday, she explained to Fawcett that it was up to Vos to make absolutely sure these records have been thorough and precise due to the fact he experienced hired Gableman as an impartial contractor. She mentioned that the original documents produced by Gableman failed to involve conversation with Vos’ business office.

“Failed to it strike you odd that when you appeared at these data from Mr. Gableman that none of your communications with them for the first numerous months were in these information?” Bailey-Rihn asked Fawcett.

“I am not a portion of that workplace. I you should not genuinely have any oversight. I really don’t know how they carry out their company,” Fawcett replied.

“But you comprehend that in the end the buck stops with Mr. Vos and his office to generate applicable paperwork, correct?” Bailey-Rihn responded.

Bailey-Rihn questioned for added briefing from attorneys to be accomplished by March 16. She claimed she would most likely challenge a penned purchase soon after that is accomplished.

In one more case that could have developments this 7 days, Judge Frank Remington stated Friday that he was “unimpressed” by Gableman’s argument that he’s conducting a legislation enforcement operation or that the open records legislation never use to his perform. Remington established a listening to date for Thursday and requested Gableman to flip over documents to him for a personal review by Jan. 31 in advance of oral arguments on March 8.