A Dane County judge has rejected Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ request to block depositions for him and his legal counsel over records related to the 2020 election review being conducted by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

Vos, R-Rochester, had sought an order blocking the Jan. 12 depositions sought by the liberal group American Oversight of him and legal counsel Steve Fawcett.

In seeking the depositions, American Oversight argued the speaker and his staff had failed to adequately search for the records in one of several requests it had filed under Wisconsin law.

Vos attorney Ronald Stadler called the depositions a “fishing expedition.”

But Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said the public deserves to know what efforts were made to find the records and if any were destroyed after the requests were made.

“This is about the truth. The citizens of Wisconsin deserve the truth. Either these records exist or they don’t,” she said.

American Oversight has filed a series of open records requests for documents related to Gableman’s probe. The Washington, D.C.-based group has also gone to court several times seeking to compel the speaker’s office to turn over records.

Vos’ private attorney filed a motion last month seeking to bar the depositions in this suit. Among other things, the speaker argued American Oversight had failed to produce sufficient evidence that his office had failed to meet its obligations in searching for the records or had failed to turn over anything sought by the request. The motion also argued the subject matters in the deposition were overly broad.

Bailey-Rihn said the depositions should focus on the records that were sought and the efforts to find them. The judge added she will be available Jan. 12 to resolve any issues that may come up over whether Vos and Fawcett have to answer some of the questions posed to them.

The depositions will be conducted over Zoom and will not be open to the public.


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