Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.
"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."
That was not the only damning revelation from the documents, which have been described as the smoking gun documents proving the GOP's white supremacy.
"On Monday, the lawyers for the legislative leaders responded by not only requesting that the files be kept secret, but also by suggesting that the lawyers for their opponents could be removed from the case as a punishment for looking at the files," the newspaper reported.
North Carolina Republicans have had significant legal difficulties defending their gerrymandered maps.
"Earlier this month, the judges overseeing the case punished the legislative defendants by making them pay $7,700 in attorneys’ fees to Common Cause and the other plaintiffs, saying the lawmakers didn’t fully obey a court order to search for and hand over documents, and could provide 'no evidence of substantial justification' for failing to do so," The News & Observer reminded. "The judges also said that the NC Republican Party had improperly resisted answering a subpoena in the case, although the judges declined to order the GOP to pay attorneys’ fees as well since the party eventually complied. However, the judges also warned the GOP that the party could still be forced to pay attorneys’ fees in the future if other issues arise."
The Hofeller documents do not only implicate North Carolina Republicans but may also implicate President Donald Trump's administration.
"Common Cause has said in a different court case that Hofeller’s files show the Trump administration made false statements about why it wants to put a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 Census," the newspaper noted.