Head of GOP-led election probe says mayors could be jailed

Wisconsin Election Clerks Confused By Investigation Email
Jessica Reilly

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, then Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Gableman speaks during a court hearing at the Grant County Courthouse in Lancaster, Wis. Wisconsin election clerks are reacting with a mixture of confusion, concern and bewilderment to the first inquiry made by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a special investigator hired by Republicans to examine how the 2020 presidential election was run in the battleground state.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A retired state Supreme Court justice hired by Republicans to investigate Wisconsin’s 2020 election says the mayors of Madison and Green Bay should face punishment and possibly jail time if they don’t meet with him, according to court documents.

Michael Gableman filed lawsuits Monday seeking to force Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to submit to depositions because they have “simply failed without reason or excuse to appear.” Gableman said he tried to arrange the meeting with the two leaders on Nov. 15 and heard nothing from them.

Although online court records do not list the lawsuits, copies of them were obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio and posted online on Thursday. Gableman’s petition asks for a subpoena that if ignored “may constitute contempt of the legislature” and “be subject to punishment, including imprisonment.”

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has dismissed Gableman’s probe as a “fake investigation” and has sought a restraining order barring Gableman from seeking interviews outside of a public legislative meeting. A hearing on Kaul’s lawsuit is scheduled for Dec. 23.

President Joe Biden beat Trump by nearly 21,000 votes, an outcome that has withstood recounts and lawsuits. False claims of widespread fraud have not been proven, with just five people out of more than 3 million who cast ballots in 2020 charged with election fraud.