Map Opponents Push Forward On Legal Challenge

Orlando Advocate | Orlando Advocate | 06/05/2013

Attorneys for critics of the state's congressional redistricting process are pushing forward on two fronts, appealing a ruling that would shield lawmakers from talking about the drawing of the maps and asking a judge for additional penalties on a consulting firm that has already been found in contempt in the case.

In one filing dated Monday, those arguing that the maps run afoul of the state's anti-gerrymandering redistricting standards asked for the Florida Supreme Court to take up the issue of whether lawmakers can be forced to testify in the case. A divided three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in May that the lawmakers are protected by legislative immunity.

Meanwhile, the groups also asked Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to impose fines on political consultant Pat Bainter and his Gainesville-based firm, Data Targeting, for failing to be more specific about which documents they are claiming are privileged based on other grounds, including whether the documents contain trade secrets.

The motion, which points out that the so-called "non-parties" have already been found in contempt, also asks Lewis to waive all of the objections to giving up documents.

"It has become readily apparent that the Non-Parties do not take this Court or its rulings seriously," it says.

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