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Gableman says his free speech rights were violated

State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman says his free speech rights are violated by a judicial conduct rule he's accused of breaking.

That was the response from Gableman's lawyers Wednesday to a charge from the State Judicial Commission that he knowingly ran a false TV ad against his campaign opponent last spring.

The ad said Justice Louis Butler found a loophole when he served as a public defender to free a rapist who went on to molest another child. What the ad didn't say was that the Supreme Court overturned the acquittal, and the rapist committed his next crime after he was paroled.

Gableman attorney Eric McLeod said the ad's original wording was not objectively false and the government should not be in the business of deciding which speech is legally a misrepresentation.

A three-judge panel will now decide if Gableman should be punished, and how.

That recommendation will go to the six other justices who will make the final decision.