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Judge Finds Republican Consulting Group In Contempt

The battle over the Florida Legislature’s 2012 re-districting efforts continued Friday in a hearing over the release of documents that may show further coordination between Republican legislators and a consulting group in Gainesville. Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis held the Republican defendants in contempt of court for failing to release all of the documents requested.

Eight months after a judge ruled that the Republican consulting group Data Targeting Inc. had to turn over close to 2-thousand pages of communications pertaining to the legislature’s 2012 redistricting efforts; they’ve released a little more than 160. Adam Schechter is the lawyer arguing for the voting rights groups that are suing the legislature for alleged gerrymandering. His comments came in a room full of reporters competing with the sound of the babbling fountain in the judge’s chambers.

“Respectfully this court should order the- we asked for 24 hours the other day and that didn’t seem to work- we think it should be the immediate production of all documents and moreover these non-parties should be ordered to pay the substantial costs the plaintiffs have had to incur in this case in getting to this point,” Schechter said.

The judge met Schechter halfway and held the consulting group in contempt of court and ordered them to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. But, he didn’t ask for the immediate release of communications, opting to have the parties meet privately with another judge next week to decide whether the documents are relevant to the case. Data Targeting Inc. is arguing releasing the documents is unconstitutional and violates the company’s right to privacy.