The attorney representing Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich in a lawsuit brought by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is leading an investigation into the 2020 election, requested that the judge levy several penalties against Gableman for alleged false statements to the state legislature.
Genrich and several other Wisconsin mayors and government officials have been subpoenaed by Gableman in recent months to provide records relating to the election for his investigation or submit to interviews. Gableman allegedly told the mayors if they provided the documents he requested, the interviews could be postponed.
The mayors, including Genrich, said they provided the information he requested, but Gableman sued last month, saying Genrich and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway didn’t present themselves for interviews in November, so a judge should order them to comply with new interviews or potentially be jailed.
In a request filed Tuesday, Genrich’s attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, suggested Gableman be publicly sanctioned and forced to communicate to the public through newspaper ads that he contradicted their prior agreement and knowingly made false statements about the interviews to the state Assembly elections committee about Genrich’s response to the subpoena.
The request also said Gableman should be ordered to testify before the same committee that he was incorrect when he said Genrich “violated a lawful obligation to provide testimony,” and said he should be made to take classes on legal ethics and not be allowed to communicate with any Green Bay officials or city employees going forward.
Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment from the Associated Press.
Gableman was hired by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to investigate the election at a cost of $677,600 to taxpayers. His contract expired last month, but Vos has said the probe will likely go longer and cost more money.
Gableman wrongly claimed at a pro-Donald Trump rally in 2020 that the election in Wisconsin had been stolen by bureaucrats. He has met with and hired people who formerly worked for Trump and espoused conspiracy theories about the election to work with him on the investigation.
President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes, an outcome that has withstood recounts and numerous lawsuits. An AP review of battleground states contested by Trump, including Wisconsin, found too few cases of fraud to affect the outcome.
Gableman subpoenaed Genrich, Rhodes-Conway and the mayors of Racine, Milwaukee and Kenosha in October, but shortly afterward agreed to put off his interviews with them if the cities provided election-related information he had requested.
Genrich attorney Mandell said in Tuesday’s court filing that Gableman’s attempt to force the mayor to submit to questioning was “frivolous” and rife with factual errors and misleading statements.
Mandell asked that Judge Ralph Ramirez impose a number of sanctions on Gableman, including taking out full-page ads in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal and the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
A hearing in that case is set for January 21.
Another lawsuit, brought by Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, seeks to block a subpoena from Gableman seeking records and a closed-door interview with the state’s top elections administrator, Meagan Wolfe.
Dane County Judge Rhonda Lanford has said she will issue a ruling by Monday.
Last week, Gableman issued additional subpoenas to Madison officials and a Democratic Wisconsin Elections Commission board member seeking more information. A Justice Department attorney sent Lanford a letter on Tuesday, saying additional legal action related to the latest subpoenas might be coming depending on how the judge rules on the earlier ones.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.