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Supreme Court allows three district attorneys to intervene in John Doe

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed three district attorneys to intervene in the John Doe investigation case.

The state Supreme Court has allowed three district attorneys to intervene in a court case related to a shuttered John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign.

The 5-0 decision, with two justices not participating, allows Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to appeal the court’s decision to end the probe to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The district attorneys did not respond to a request for comment on the decision.

In a separate 4-1 decision with Justice Shirley Abrahamson dissenting, the court denied without explanation a request by Chisholm and two of his assistant district attorneys for a separate request to intervene over a specific matter relating to the preservation of records obtained in the investigation.

The court originally ordered investigators to destroy or return those records, but in December said the records should be delivered to the Supreme Court.

Chisholm opened the John Doe investigation in August 2012 based on evidence collected in a previous John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s Milwaukee County office that resulted in six convictions of Walker aides and associates.

After Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen declined to take over the case, it expanded to four more counties where subjects of the investigation resided. The five district attorneys in those counties later agreed to consolidate the case under one special prosecutor, who served dozens of subpoenas in October 2013. A new judge assigned to oversee the case quashed the subpoenas in January 2014.

In July the Wisconsin Supreme Court halted the probe, saying it had no basis in law. The investigation was looking into coordination between Walker’s campaign and so-called issue advocacy groups. In December the court removed special prosecutor Francis Schmitz from the case, leaving no one to represent it.

Two of the five district attorneys initially involved in the case, both Republicans, declined to intervene. Chisholm, Nelson and Ozanne are all Democrats.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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