A three judge panel today ordered lawyers representing Wisconsin Senate Republicans to release 84 additional documents that the lawyers tried to claim were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Senate leaders contracted with the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich to help draw new redistricting maps for Congressional and Wisconsin legislative districts. It was previously revealed that Republican Senators were required to sign secrecy oaths before they could view the maps.
Voces de la Frontera, a community group in Milwaukee, has sued in Federal court over the plan, which was passed last summer just before Senate recall elections. The panel of judges hearing the case decided that the mixing of advice about political and legal strategy made the documents (mostly emails) not subject to attorney/client privilege. Lawyers representing the Legislature have been warned and fined previously for filing frivolous motions in the case. They were not fined again today, but they and the Republican legislators were once again severely reprimanded for their attempts to shield redistricting information from the public.
Link is here. Help me read it. Post anything interesting in the comments and I'll add to the diary.
I'll add to the diary as we pan for gold. Here is an image of one of the emails that shows the lawyers admitting to "wildly gerrymandering" a Hispanic district:
The three judge panel blasted the Republicans and their lawyers again in their written decision:
"Without a doubt, the Legislature made a conscious choice to involve private lawyers in what gives every appearance of an attempt -albeit poorly disguised - to cloak the private machinations of Wisconsin's Republican legislators in the shroud of attorney-client privilege. What could have - indeed should have - been accomplished publicly instead took place in private, in an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny."More at jsonline.
Note that the two Senate staffers, paid by taxpayers, are using gmail accounts instead of regular state email accounts, though this work is being done on state time.
UPDATE 1: Interesting string of emails showing that conservative Dane County Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz will testify in favor of the maps at public hearings, but the lawyers are writing parts of her testimony, and this is before she even sees the maps!
UPDATE 1.5: Eileen Bruskewitz responds to the Wisconsin State Journal about her agreement to testify in support of maps she had never seen:
Reached by phone Thursday, Bruskewitz defended the actions by saying she was trying to make the process less partisan.There is so much wrong with that, I don't know where to begin other than to say that Bruskewitz is not known for being a deep thinker. She thought that testifying about unseen maps that she knew would be gerrymandered in favor of Republicans would make the process less partisan? Yeesh.
"I don't think I had seen a copy of (the map), but I knew it would be favorable to Republicans," she said.
UPDATE 3: AnnieJo in the comments below explains what they mean when they discuss "disenfranchisement" in the emails...
(it) means that due to the Senate district switching, there are people who are going to have to wait longer than a full senatorial term to vote in a senatorial election -- which is a no-no.UPDATE 4: Hat-tip to Ophelia...this one is almost laughable if it weren't our democracy being sacrificed.
However, since some of those people would be voting in recall elections, they want to argue that since those people got an extra between-regular-elections chance to vote, they're not being made to wait those extra years after all.
What a foul mess.