The Walker Authority and Fitzgerald's covered their criminal tracks, and may have beat the legal system. I'm still absorbing this story:
jsonline: Documents were deleted from state redistricting computers last year even after a lawyer for the Legislature told lawmakers' aides to preserve all records on the computers, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court.Can they get away with any of this? This is how Republicans run our government:
Nine hard drives were recently given to groups suing the state because of questions about whether legislators and their attorneys had turned over all the documents they had been ordered to provide. One of the nine hard drives was unreadable and the outside of it was dented and scratched, which suggested its metal housing had been removed, according to affidavits in the case. In addition, some of the hard drives had a program installed on them that could remove electronic data and hide the fact that files had been deleted, according to the filing. So far, however, a computer expert has not been able to determine if the program was actually used. Left unanswered so far is who was responsible for the deletion of any documents.
The filings are the latest sign of legal difficulties for Republicans … It raises the possibility officials or their lawyers could face sanctions from the panel of three federal judges or the state Office of Lawyer Regulation. The court has been critical of the way the firm handled the case, at one point ordering lawyers there to pay about $17,500 because they had filed frivolous motions in attempts to block the release of documents.
In the two weeks the plaintiffs have had hard drives, forensic examiner Mark Lanterman has determined documents were deleted in June, July and November of 2012. He also found some of them contained "wiping" software meant to delete files so that they cannot be recovered.
The internal and external hard drives come from the three computers that legislative aides, lawyers and consultants used to draw the maps. One of the nine hard drives had a stripped screw, dents and scratches and is unreadable.
Lanterman did not tell the court how many documents had been deleted from the hard drives, but a lawyer for the plaintiffs called the number "substantial."
But the Legislature's new attorney, Tom Pyper of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, wrote "Information deletion would have taken place in the normal course of usage of state computers," Pyper wrote in the letter. He argued the Legislature was not required to preserve documents after June 2012, if not sooner. That's when an appeal of the court's findings on the maps was dropped.
The plaintiffs dispute that, saying the Legislature was obligated to retain all documents under court rules.
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