Federal appeals court stays order stopping John Doe investigation

CREATED May 6, 2014 - UPDATED: May 7, 2014

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UPDATED 05/07 5:20 p.m. - A federal appeals court has put on hold an order stopping the investigation into Governor Walker, the Associated Press reports. Check back often for more on this latest development.

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MADISON - A stunning turn of events in a major court battle over money spent during Wisconsin's recall elections.  U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa halted the John Doe investigation late Tuesday.

The federal judge is telling prosecutors, including Milwaukee County D-A John Chisholm to stop their long running secret investigation.
 
Governor Walker took the news in stride Wednesday:
 
"I'm assuming there will be further actions in the future, but my hope is with a lot of these issues we can just move on ... With this and with Act 10, I'm used to things being in the court. That's why I don't get too excited one way or the other." 
 
While Walker wouldn't say if he feels vindicated, he argued it's a step forward.
 
"I think it's pretty clear, there isn't another elected official in America that has been more scrutinized than I have been."
 
Walker also argues the investigation hasn't hurt him.
 
"In terms of our campaign, I haven't felt that way. I think we've been able to make a convincing case."  
 
The investigation was looking into possible illegal coordination between conservative groups like Club for Growth and its support for  Republicans during the recall campaigns.
 
Last year, targets in the investigation had their homes raided and computers seized. Club for Growth sued claiming the investigation amounted to harassment and a violation of free speech rights.
 
Judge Randa's sweeping decision orders prosecutors to stop the John Doe, return all property seized and destroy all copies of information from the probe.
 
Randall Crocker, the lawyer for the Special Prosecutor in the case,  issued a statement after the preliminary injunction: Our Client, Fran Schmitz, was appointed by a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge to undertake an investigation in accordance with Wisconsin law.
 
He swore an oath to do so, and his actions have all been pursuant to that appointment and consistent with his oath. He has, in accordance with his duties as the special prosecutor, undertaken his responsibilities in accordance with Wisconsin Law and for the protection of the integrity of Wisconsin elections. We will carefully review the decision of Judge Randa and address with our client his responsibilities pursuant to his appointment and all of his options.  
 

 Check back often for updates on this developing story