Milwaukee's central count facility on Election Day. Photo by Adam Kelnhofer, Nov. 3, 3030.

The mayors of Green Bay and Madison are firing back at Michael Gableman over the former justice’s petition that could have them jailed to force their compliance with subpoenas he issued as part of his review of the 2020 election.

An attorney for Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich says the petition is so lacking in legal merit and “built upon a gross distortion of the relevant facts” that he will seek sanctions against Gableman unless the justice rescinds the petition.

Testifying before an Assembly committee on Wednesday, Gableman said he had filed petitions in Waukesha County Circuit Court seeking to compel Genrich and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to comply with the subpoenas he had earlier issued. But he offered no other details. The petitions, which are now publicly available, cite a state law that allows a circuit court to confine a witness to the county jail unless the person testifies.

During his testimony, Gableman accused the mayors of a “cover up” and trying to avoid his questions.

Genrich attorney Jeffrey Mandell wrote a letter yesterday asking Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Ralph Ramirez, who has been assigned the case, to either dismiss the petition or consolidate the case with a lawsuit already pending in Dane County. That suit seeks to quash a subpoena Gableman issued to Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe.

In the letter, Mandell argues Gableman improperly sought to compel Genrich to testify at a private office in Waukesha County rather than before a legislative committee as required by law. Mandell also noted the petition seeks an order to have the Waukesha County sheriff “seize and confine the duly elected Mayor of Green Bay.” Such an action exceeds the authority of the Waukesha County sheriff, the letter says.

The letter also argues Genrich has acted reasonably in response to Gableman’s requests with the city turning over nearly 20,000 pages of documents. In giving Gableman the records in mid-October, the city noted it understood from conversations with the special counsel’s office that no more records or witness testimony was needed. But it asked if that changed, a request should be sent laying out specific topics on which information was being sought. The letter says the city and its private attorneys didn’t receive a response. But Gableman’s office sent a message to a city attorney using an outdated email address, and it was caught by a spam filter. The city’s private attorneys notified Gableman of that a week before the motion was filed to compel Genrich’s testimony.

Meanwhile, Conway-Rhodes in a statement said Gableman and his aides have failed to respond to the city’s letter trying to work out arrangements for a meeting. She said that underscores “the abject lack of professionalism on Gableman’s team.”

“We here in Madison remain ready to share the details of how we ran a safe and fair election during a global pandemic before the legislative committee where taxpayers can see how their money is being spent,” she said, adding a valid legislative subpoena can only compel testimony before a legislative committee.

Read the letter:

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