Judge’s ruling once again halts Walker probe

WISCONSIN – There were more developments Thursday in a complicated legal fight over a secret investigation involving Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign. The case is once again on hold.

The so-called John Doe investigation focuses on alleged illegal coordination between Gov. Walker’s recall committee and his supporters. It started in August 2012.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Ranta, based in Milwaukee, first stopped the investigation Tuesday. He said it violated free speech rights.

Then Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Chicago put that decision on hold because Ranta still had to decide whether a separate appeal by prosecutors was valid.

Thursday, Ranta threw out that appeal so the investigation is blocked again.

While in Chippewa Falls Thursday, Gov. Walker re-iterated he’s not letting the investigation distract him from his job.

“But really, all throughout the last several years when these questions have come up, we’ve let allowed that to work itself out outside of the process,” said Walker.

The governor says he doesn’t get too worked up about individual court rulings.

Mike Tate, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, responded to the latest developments with a statement.

“There’s no telling when the circus Scott Walker’s lawyers have created in the courts will come to an end,” said Tate. “The more important issue here is that Walker has made clear that when his campaign and special interests worked together to circumvent campaign finance laws, they were doing exactly what he asked them to do.”

The attorney representing the prosecutor in the investigation says he expects the matter will be resolved in a higher court.

Attorneys have until the end of July to file written arguments about whether to shut down the investigation or allow it to continue. A final decision may not come until after the November election.

Under Wisconsin law, prosecutors can launch John Doe investigations that are overseen by judges and conducted largely in secret.

Three other lawsuits are pending in state court connected to the investigation.

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