New federal court documents reveal that a “substantial” number of documents were deleted from state redistricting computers, according to a report from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In February, a federal panel ordered Wisconsin Republicans to turn over three computers that are part of legal challenges to their illegal redistricting process, noting that the number of documents Republicans had concealed or withheld made it likely that “fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct” had occurred.
Nine internal and external hard drives were recovered from three computers used by Republican aides and operatives in the redistricting process including one that has a stripped screw, dents and scratches and is unreadable. It’s not yet clear the number of documents that were deleted; however, lawyers for the plaintiffs called the amount “substantial.”
A forensic examiner has also determined that some of the hard drives contained “wiping” software meant to delete files so that they cannot be recovered.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also notes that the latest court filings raise, “the possibility officials or their lawyers could face sanctions from the panel of three federal judges or the state Office of Lawyer Regulation.”
“Now we know why Scott Walker Republicans were refusing to hand over documents and computers – because they were deleting evidence of their illegal gerrymandering scheme and then sweeping away their footprints with secret computer software,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. “But no matter how many times they break it or bend it to their advantage, Wisconsin Republicans are not above the law. Hopefully the full record of the Republicans’ illegal redistricting scheme will soon be revealed so that they can be held accountable.”
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