Attorney General Brad Schimel released a statement Tuesday calling on the special prosecutor who had been the lead in a now-halted John Doe investigation to not try to take the probe before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schimel noted in his statement that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has not only brought the investigation to a halt but also ruled that the attorney Francis Schmitz was improperly appointed as special prosecutor in the probe.
“The only level of appeal left is to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), but it is very unlikely SCOTUS would take the case,” Schimel wrote. “In the unlikely scenario that SCOTUS were to accept the case, it would more than likely uphold the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision.”
The investigation that Schimel referred to arose from allegations that various independent groups had illegally coordinated with the campaigns of Republican lawmakers — Gov. Scott Walker’s included — during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012. It’s often called John Doe II to distinguish it from a previous investigation into similar allegations concerning activity in the Milwaukee County Executive’s office when Walker was county executive.
That initial investigation eventually led to convictions against six of Walker’s former associates but left the governor untouched.
Schimel, in his statement Tuesday, wrote that he has been asked to intervene in John Doe II by various parties who were targeted in the investigation. He noted that now that the probe has been halted, the state Supreme Court has ordered that property that was seized as evidence be returned to the owners.
“That has not yet occurred, and the owners of that property are understandably upset,” Schimel wrote.
Still, Schimel declined Tuesday to intervene largely because the state’s Department of Justice had appeared before the state Supreme Court to represent Judge Gregory Peterson, who had earlier brought some of the prosecutors’ efforts to a halt.
“Given that DOJ represented the judge who first found that the John Doe proceeding was invalid, DOJ certainly has no intention of standing in the way of those orders,” Schimel wrote.
Still, he added, the “DOJ has no authority to represent those individual property owners in their effort to enforce the Supreme Court’s order.” Follow @TDR_WLJDan