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A Wisconsin judge on Monday rejected an attempt by the state’s Democratic attorney general to block a subpoena issued by a Republican-hired attorney seeking to interview the state’s chief elections administrator and obtain election-related documents and data as part of a GOP-ordered investigation.

The ruling from Dane County Circuit Judge Rhonda Lanford is a partial victory for Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who was hired last year by Republicans to investigate the 2020 election. It means that he can move forward — at least for now — with a closed-door interview with the state’s top elections official, Meagan Wolfe, even as other legal battles over his authority are pending.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, an outcome that has withstood recounts and numerous lawsuits. An Associated Press review of battleground states contested by Trump, including Wisconsin, found too few cases of fraud to affect the outcome.

Republicans have called for a number of election reviews, including the ongoing one led by Gableman. The Legislature’s nonpartisan Audit Bureau found no widespread fraud and neither did a report by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

In a blow to Gableman on Monday, the judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit as he requested and said she could reconsider her decision later if he attempts to enforce the subpoenas before the legal challenge to the subpoenas runs its course.


Anchorage has won its lawsuit with a federal agency over failed construction at the state’s largest port.

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Edward J. Damich on Thursday found the U.S. Maritime Administration breached its 2003 and 2011 agreements with the Municipality of Anchorage over construction at the Port of Anchorage, KTUU-TV reported. The facility has since been renamed the Port of Alaska.

“It’s an enormous vindication of what we’ve been saying all along, and that’s basically that the federal government had control of this project and they didn’t perform — they messed it up,” assistant municipal attorney Robert Owens said.

In 2014, Anchorage filed a lawsuit against the maritime administration for more than $300 million over failed construction in the effort to replace deteriorating facilities and upgrade port infrastructure to meet increasing demands.

A nine-day trial was held last spring, at which the municipality argued the government’s 2003 and 2011 agreements required the agency to provide technical expertise to oversee, design and construct the expansion project “free of defect,” the court documents show.

The government countered that Anchorage was the party responsible for managing and executing the project, and the maritime administration didn’t breach any duties.

The judge sided with Anchorage, saying the federal agency failed to enforce its contractual duties or administer funds properly.

The amount of damages have not been awarded yet. Both sides have 10 days to submit arguments for what they believe the monetary award should be.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson called the verdict a victory for Alaska.

“The Port of Alaska is a vital piece of infrastructure for all Alaskans, with roughly 90% of our population touched by goods that come through the Port,” Bronson said in a statement.

The municipality is working with the state and federal government to secure nearly $1.6 billion to repair the port, Bronson said.

An email sent Friday to the U.S. Maritime Administration seeking comment was not immediately returned.


Texas clinics on Saturday canceled appointments they had booked during a 48-hour reprieve from the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., which was back in effect as weary providers again turn their sights to the Supreme Court.

The Biden administration, which sued Texas over the law known as Senate Bill 8, has yet to say whether it will go that route after a federal appeals court reinstated the law late Friday. The latest twist came just two days after a lower court in Austin suspended the law, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks, before some women know they are pregnant. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

The White House had no immediate comment Saturday. For now at least, the law is in the hands of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the restrictions to resume pending further arguments. In the meantime, Texas abortions providers and patients are right back to where they’ve been for most of the last six weeks.

Out-of-state clinics already inundated with Texas patients seeking abortions were again the closest option for many women. Providers say others are being forced to carry pregnancies to term, or waiting in hopes that courts will strike down the law that took effect on Sept. 1.

There are also new questions — including whether anti-abortion advocates will try punishing Texas physicians who performed abortions during the brief window the law was paused from late Wednesday to late Friday. Texas leaves enforcement solely in the hands of private citizens who can collect $10,000 or more in damages if they successfully sue abortion providers who flout the restrictions.

Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, created a tip line to receive reports of violators. About a dozen calls came in after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman suspended the law, said John Seago, the group’s legislative director.

Although some Texas clinics said they had briefly resumed abortions on patients who were beyond six weeks, Seago said his group had no lawsuits in the works. He said the clinics’ public statements did not “match up with what we saw on the ground,” which he says include a network of observers and crisis pregnancy centers.

“I don’t have any credible evidence at the moment of litigation that we would bring forward,” Seago said Saturday.

Texas had roughly two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect. At least six clinics resumed performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy during the reprieve, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.


A utility executive who repeatedly lied to keep investors pumping money into South Carolina’s $9 billion nuclear reactor debacle will spend two years in prison for fraud, a federal judge decided on Thursday.

Former SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh agreed with prosecutors that he should serve the sentence and the judge approved the deal, making him the first executive put behind bars for misleading the public on the project, which failed without ever generating a watt of power.

Marsh said he wants to serve his time now because his wife of 46 years has incurable breast cancer, and he hopes to care for her after leaving prison.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis cited Marsh’s remorse and expansive cooperation with federal authorities as she reluctantly accepted the plea deal, which is well below the federal sentencing guidelines of five years. She said the prosecution and defense depiction of the crime Marsh committed is a “vanilla way to describe it,” adding that it understates “the seriousness of this non-disclosure.”

“Your crime was committed with a little more elegance and sophistication than many I see,” Geiger told Marsh. “But you don’t get credit for that.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brook Andrews said imprisoning Marsh sends a message of public responsibility to powerful executives.

“It is a failure of judgment,” Andrews said. “It is a failure of conscience. It is a failure to tell the truth when telling the truth would bring dire financial consequences.”

A second former SCANA executive and an official at Westinghouse Electric Co., the lead contractor to build two new reactors at the V.C. Summer plant, have also pleaded guilty. A second Westinghouse executive has been indicted and is awaiting trial.


Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro got a rousing reception from tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital Tuesday in an Independence Day show of support for the right-wing leader embroiled in a feud with the country’s Supreme Court.

Bolsonaro, in an address inaudible to many in the crowd far from the loudspeakers, lashed out at the high court and said the nation can no longer accept what he characterized as political imprisonments — a reference to arrests ordered by Justice Alexandre de Moraes. He warned that the court could “suffer what we don’t want.”

The crowd began chanting, “Alexandre out!”

His speech followed a helicopter flyover, with those on the ground seized with euphoria at the sight. They applauded and shouted, “Legend!” and “I authorize!” — a slogan widely understood as blanket approval of his methods.

Bolsonaro has called on the Senate to impeach de Moraes, who has jailed several of the president’s supporters for allegedly financing, organizing or inciting violence or disseminating false information.

Massive participation in rallies scheduled across the country would reinforce Bolsonaro’s push to prove he retains strength — despite slumping poll ratings — and recover momentum after a string of setbacks.


A West Virginia man charged in the assault of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after defending the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, can be released on bond while he awaits trial, a federal appeals court ruled.

The district court erred in assessing the danger posed by George Tanios, according to the appellate ruling issued Monday.

“The record reflects that Tanios has no past felony convictions, no ties to any extremist organizations, and no post-January 6 criminal behavior that would otherwise show him to pose a danger to the community within the meaning of the Bail Reform Act,” the ruling said.

The district court in May ruled that Tanios must remain behind bars while awaiting trial on numerous charges, including assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon. U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan found that Tanios was a threat to the community. The judge said the assault with chemical spray on Sicknick and two other officers contributed to the mob’s ability to breach a police line guarding the Capitol.

An attorney for Tanios — who operated a greasy spoon called Sandwich U in Morgantown, home of West Virginia University — had argued that there was no advance planning and that her client had bought the chemical sprays only for self-protection in the event of violence against Trump supporters.

Prosectors have said Julian Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, sprayed Sicknick and other officers with chemicals after retrieving a canister from Tanios’ backpack. Sicknick later collapsed and died. Khater, who remains behind bars, has pleaded not guilty to assault charges. Neither he nor Tanios have been charged in Sicknick’s death.

A Washington medical examiner in April determined that Sicknick suffered a stroke and died from natural causes.

Capitol Police accepted the medical examiner’s findings but said the ruling didn’t change the fact that Sicknick had died in the line of duty, “courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.”


A federal appeals court panel has upheld a ruling that orders North Dakota to pay more than $450,000 in plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs stemming from tribal lawsuits over state voter identification requirements.

Last year, the state agreed to settle longstanding legal disputes with Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.

The tribes sued over North Dakota’s requirement that voters have identification with a street address. The tribes said it creates a disadvantage for Native Americans who live on reservations where street addresses are hard to come by. The dispute at one point reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

An 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals panel on Friday upheld a federal judge’s May 2020 order that the state pay $452,983, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

U.S. District Judge Dan Hovland had approved an agreement, which sought to ensure Native American voters have valid IDs and can meet the address requirement.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys also sought more than $1 million in attorney fees and expenses. The state argued the claim was unreasonable. Hovland sided with the tribes but reduced the amount by 60%, saying some claimed expenses were excessive.

The state appealed, saying the request had been filed too late. The appellate judges agreed but said the gaffe was “excusable.”

“There is no evidence that the plaintiffs acted in bad faith,” the panel wrote in its decision upholding Hovland’s order.

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