Racine voter fraud case: Tense court appearance, gag order issued to Harry Wait
RACINE Wis. (CBS 58) -- Harry Wait, the Racine man who was charged for committing election fraud, was ordered not to talk to the media and had some of his supporters tossed out of the courtroom after a tense court appearance.
Wait, a conservative activist who leads the organization H.O.T. Government that focuses on voting issues and promotes election fraud, had his initial court appearance Thursday, days after the state charged him with voter fraud and identity theft.
Things got off to a rocky start between Wait and Racine County Judge Robert Repischak after Wait arrived 15 minutes late to his initial court appearance.
Wait held an event outside the courtroom with about a dozen supporters where he explained his actions by comparing himself to founding fathers including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
"My actions are in the spirit of this nation which was founded and taken action upon by civil disobedience," said Wait. "I have acted as a similar matter as the founds of this nation and for those reasons I believe my actions are lawful."
Judge Repischak issued Wait a $2,500 signature bond and ordered him to not contact Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Racine Mayor Cory Mason - two individuals Wait illegally and successfully ordered absentee ballots for.
After court concluded, Wait spoke openly to the press which resulted in Repischak issuing a gag order. Wait attempted to fight the order and was almost thrown in jail for trying to talk to the media again.
"I'm not going to have you litigate this case to the media," Repischak said.
Wait replied, "Sir, I am not litigating this case in the media...I'm objecting. That's against my first amendment right."
Supporters packed the courtroom gallery, some wore "Free Wait" t-shirts. Within minutes, Repischak spotted the shirts and kicked the individuals out of the courtroom.
"This is not a political rally, this is a courtroom!" Repischak said.
Wait has argued he committed fraud to expose vulnerabilities in the online system voters use to request absentee ballots, which state election officials deny there are any. Wait is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 19th.