A Dane County judge ordered Michael Gableman not to delete records related to the 2020 election probe after the former justice’s attorney had indicated he was discarding records that were “irrelevant or useless” to his investigation.

Judge Frank Remington issued the temporary order Thursday after the liberal group American Oversight asked the court to reopen a previous order in its ongoing open records suit over the probe. Remington set a scheduling hearing for Tuesday.

Gableman attorney Jim Bopp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Washington, D.C.-based group’s motion cited a letter from Bopp that disclosed the former justice’s office deletes “any unnecessary records” it receives, as well as those determined to be “irrelevant or useless” to the investigation. The letter also argued Gableman’s office is not bound by the state’s open records law.

Remington’s order aims to “avoid any confusion” by clarifying that American Oversight still has a pending records request and any records related to it can’t be deleted or destroyed.

Melanie Sloan, senior advisor at American Oversight, questioned the investigation’s validity.

“If this investigation was above board, the Office of Special Counsel would have maintained and released records of its work required by law,” Sloan said. “Instead, it is fighting tooth and nail to hide its work from the public.”

See the order here.

See the American Oversight release here.

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