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Hard-drives reviewed in redistricting lawsuit

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MADISON (WSAU)   Redistricting lawsuit plaintiffs say they’ve been stymied in finding new evidence that state Legislative Republicans illegally withheld documents in their 2011 re-mapping. The Republicans recently turned over nine hard drives to Democratic and Hispanic groups that sued the state, so they could try to find documents which a federal court told the G-O-P to provide. But in a new court filing, the plaintiffs said one hard drive was unreadable – and another looked like its metal housing was removed.

The plaintiffs lost most of their redistricting suit a year ago, as the court found that all but two of the newly-drawn Assembly and Senate districts were constitutional. Afterward, the plaintiffs said they identified 55 documents which should have been turned over to them by the Republicans, but never were. The judges later ordered the state to give them their redistricting computers, so they could look for fraud in the re-mapping process.

In the new court filing, forensic examiner Mark Lanterman said documents were deleted last June, July, and November – and some programs had wiping software so deleted files could not be recovered. A legislative attorney said any allegations of misconduct are unproven – and the Legislature had the right to delete items after a certain amount of time. But the plaintiffs insist lawmakers were ordered to keep all documents from the case.

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