A Wisconsin judge tore up the partisan ‘investigation’ into the 2020 Wisconsin election on Thursday, saying not only did it uncover any evidence of voter fraud, but also that the process ‘punished’ Wisconsinans .
In her final hearing as a judge before retiring, Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn awarded $98,000 in attorney fees to liberal watchdog group American Oversight, which sued several lawsuits against election investigators for alleged violations of the Public Records Act.
Bailey-Rihn said she was not awarding further punitive damages — which, like attorneys’ fees, would be paid for by taxpayers — because “I think the people of the state of Wisconsin have been sufficiently punished for this case”. The Associated Press reported the judge’s remarks.
“I don’t think it does anyone any good to impose punitive damages on the innocent people of this state,” the judge added. The probe has already crossed the seven-digit mark.
Thursday’s hearing concerned one of multiple lawsuits — three of which are still pending — against investigators. Michael Gableman, the former state Supreme Court justice leading the inquiry, was ordered to stop deleting the investigative records by another judge earlier this year – the judge of Dane County, Frank Remington, whom Gableman later reprimanded during a courtroom meltdown.
At various times, Gableman and Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin Republican Assembly, were found in contempt for failing to comply with public records orders. Bailey-Rihn said Thursday the case showed, among other things, that Vos and Gableman believe they have no obligation to comply with state records laws.
“It’s something the citizens of this state have learned to their detriment,” the judge said.
Gableman, for his part, floated the idea of “decertifying” the election based in part on claims that later turned out to be false. He has repeatedly fought for more time for his investigation, and a new contract signed in May has no set end date.
Gableman admitted in October last year that “most people, myself included, don’t have a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work.”
Bailey-Rihn appeared to reference that comment on Thursday.
At least during the first part of the investigation, she said, taxpayers were paying $11,000 a month for Gableman to “sit in the New Berlin library to learn about election law because he knows nothing about electoral law”.
Bailey-Rihn too cited Gableman’s trips to the conspiracy-theoretic-focused ‘Cyber Symposium’ conference last year — “to meet My Pillow persona ‘Mike Lindell,’ she said — as well as her trip to the fake” audit” of the 2020 election results from Maricopa County, Arizona, where she said he went “to learn more about the possibility that the Chinese tampered with election machines, which, in his own words, was not confirmed”.