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New filings detail reasons for probe's secrecy

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Associated Press | June 5, 2014

MADISON -- Court filings made public Wednesday related to the John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's recall campaign and conservative groups show prosecutors sought to keep the probe secret to avoid publicity, which they feared could hinder or taint their work.

Walker's recall campaign and other conservative groups have been investigated since 2012 as part of the secret probe. The investigation focused on alleged illegal campaign fundraising, spending and coordination between conservative groups, Walker's campaign and others during recall elections in both 2011 and 2012.

No charges have been filed.

Last month U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued a preliminary injunction halting the investigation, saying it violated the First Amendment rights of Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O'Keefe, who was among the targets of the probe.

Prosecutors filed briefs in the 7th U.S. District Court on Wednesday in support of their request that Randa's order halting the investigation be put on hold. Prosecutors are also appealing the judgment.

As part of their motion, prosecutors filed a partially redacted copy of a petition submitted in July by Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson requesting that the secret John Doe investigation be commenced against O'Keefe.

Nelson said it was important to keep the investigation secret because any public filing "will generate substantial publicity, both from traditional (e.g., print and broadcast journalism) and non-traditional (e.g. Internet blog) information sources," Nelson said. "This is because the individuals involved in this investigation are well placed."



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