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More legal action against state redistricting looming after email release

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Redistricting graphic
Redistricting graphic

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Democrats and Hispanics who lost a court battle last year over Wisconsin’s redistricting plan now say they might file another legal action.

The plaintiffs told a three-judge federal court panel Tuesday that it might seek sanctions against Michael Best and Friedrich.

That’s the law firm which helped Republicans secretly draw new Assembly and Senate districts, which critics say are aimed helping the GOP keep control at the State Capitol for the next decade.

After losing the main lawsuit, the plaintiffs said they had evidence showing that Republicans and their lawyers failed to follow the court’s previous orders, by not releasing all documents which explained how the GOP drafted the new maps.

On Monday, a computer examiner hired on behalf of Michael Best identified 34 GOP e-mails that were never turned over. And they were given to the plaintiffs and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Now, plaintiffs’ attorney Doug Poland says there are other sources that need to be checked for unreleased documents – and they want to pursue them.

The e-mails that have already been released show that Republicans strategically tried to reduce Hispanic representation by putting Latinos in one Senate district – with the hopes that the judges would only make minor changes. That didn’t work.

The court ruled that a line be moved within two Assembly districts, so one has a majority of Hispanics to more likely assure the ethnic group’s representation in the lower house.

But the court did find that the other 97 Assembly districts and all 33 Senate districts met constitutional requirements. 

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