Some of the “usual suspects” who comment on this blog took exception to my post on “the goggle-eyed homunculus now serving as local sales director of the Koch Industries subsidiary once known as the state of Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker. Ducey’s dicey pals: Scott Walker ‘John Doe’ probe docs.
Echoing their boy Scotty, they claim the probe is resolved and over.
Note: all Defendants claim they are innocent — “I was framed I tell ya!”
Politifact (yes, I know) looks at Scotty’s claim and rates it “False” (like everything our “usual suspects” post in the comments). Scott Walker says probe into his campaign finances is “resolved”:
Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate [Scott Walker] said the John Doe probe had been resolved and that two judges had said it was “over.”
Experts say no. After all, one of the key court rulings that has stalled the investigation is a “preliminary injunction.” And that is on appeal.
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Alleigh Marre, spokeswoman for Walker’s campaign, cited two court documents to back Walker’s claim. It’s not clear what she was referring to in the first document, a December 2013 court filing by Schmitz, and she didn’t respond to our request to elaborate.
The second document was a court order that John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson issued on Jan. 10, 2014. It quashed subpoenas that had been issued to Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. And it ordered the return of any property seized with those subpoenas or with search warrants served on two officials of the groups.
But the order did not resolve the case.
Indeed, in his order, Peterson made reference to the possibility of his ruling be appealed. And the order has been challenged and is awaiting a ruling from the state Court of Appeals.
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Another key ruling was made in federal court, by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa.
In February 2014, the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O’Keefe sued in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in an attempt to stop the Doe investigation, saying it violated their rights to free speech, free association and equal protection under the law.
Three months later, Randa issued a preliminary injunction halting the probe while he considered the lawsuit. He said it appeared prosecutors were violating the First Amendment rights of Club for Growth and O’Keefe. And he ordered prosecutors to return any material they had gathered in the investigation and destroy whatever copies of it they had made.
But as the term “preliminary injunction” would indicate, that did not mean the case had been resolved or was over.
Indeed, Randa’s ruling has been appealed and the parties are awaiting a decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
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We consulted five attorneys who have represented multiple clients in criminal John Doe investigations — Madison defense attorneys Marcus Berghahn and Stephen Morgan (Morgan is a former state and federal prosecutor); Milwaukee defense attorneys Jeremy Levinson, who also handles campaign finance cases for Democrats, and Raymond Dall’Osto; and Marquette University Law School professor and former state prosecutor Daniel Blinka.
Bottom line: The John Doe investigation case has been stopped for the time being, but it has not been resolved. The rulings by judges Peterson and Randa are not final and are being appealed. The appellate rulings could also be appealed.
And if the Chicago appeals panel overrules Randa, the investigation can resume.
“Once the Court of Appeals decides the merits of the case and if no party appeals the Court of Appeals’ decision, then it may be possible to say that the cases are over — unless the case is returned to the trial court or John Doe Judge for further litigation,” said Berghahn.
Said Blinka: “The governor’s remark overlooks the role of the appellate courts. The final resolution is up to the appellate courts, and only when the appellate process has run its course will we have a final resolution.”
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Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign has been “resolved” and two judges have said it is “over.”
His characterization is misleading at best. The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling.
But the second ruling, while a serious blow, did not end the probe, and in any event prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned.
We rate Walker’s statement False.
So to our ill-informed wingnut trolls: bite me.