We have been following the Wisconsin “John Doe” anti-conservative witch hunt for a long time.

The short story is that Wisconsin investigators using secret “John Doe” state processes have been targeting conservatives in Wisconsin under the factually and legally frivolous theory that they illegally coordinated with Scott Walker’s campaign.

After certain of the targets sued in federal court alleging a violation of their constitutional rights, a federal judge sided with the targets and issued an injunction barring further investigation and ordering return of evidence seized.  The investigators are in a judicial head lock.

The civil suit against the investigators — who are local prosecutors by day — continues into the discovery phase. Money damages and other relief are in play, and the hunters have become the hunted.

Here are some prior posts:

Now comes a disturbing report in The Wall Street Journal that Scott Walker might cut a deal letting the investigators out, Scott Walker’s Friends:

Wisconsin prosecutors have suffered a series of stunning legal defeats in recent months as they pursue a secret investigation of the conservative groups that helped Governor Scott Walker get elected. Those cases are shaping up as a major policy victory for free speech and political debate—unless a last-minute settlement rescues the prosecutors.

We’ve learned that Steven Biskupic, who represents Friends of Scott Walker, has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state’s investigation. The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker’s allies….

This legal progress makes the prospect of a premature Walker settlement all the more puzzling. Mr. Walker is facing a rough re-election fight this year, and perhaps he and his lawyers want to remove any chance of a September or October legal surprise.

Yet based on the evidence and legal judgments we’ve seen, the prosecutors should be on the defensive, not Mr. Walker. Judge Peterson clearly sees no evidence of any crime. The federal lawsuit that triggered Judge Randa’s preliminary injunction names the prosecutors in their personal and professional capacities, so they’re the ones who may need a face-saving legal exit.

Mr. Walker might think he can help himself with a settlement, but he’d be letting down his allies if he did so in a way that lets the bogus theory of illegal coordination survive. Wisconsin has an especially pernicious regulatory machine that targets political speech, and the legal backlash to the John Doe probe offers a rare chance to dismantle it. Mr. Walker is a hero to many for his fight against public unions, but he will tarnish that image if he sells out the cause for some short-term re-election reassurance….

On Tuesday a very clipped Mr. Biskupic told us that he was “not going to comment on anything related to any John Doe in Wisconsin because doing so would be a violation of court orders.” But after he hung up with us he warned other friends of Scott Walker about our call. Sounds like Mr. Walker has to decide whose side he’s on—his own, or the larger principles he claims to represent.

If Scott Walker sells out his conservative friends in Wisconsin, it will be inexcusable.  They have had their houses raided, their property seized, their lives frozen, and their constitutional rights violated.  One of them, Eric O’Keefe, even risked liberty to make sure that the story was told.

Selling out those John Doe victims would be selling out all of us around the nation who face various types of threats from bullying Democratic prosecutors, unions, media, activists, and lawfare practitioners.

Only the victims of the John Doe bullies should get to decide whether, when and on what terms to let the investigators out.

(Featured Image: Anti-Walker protester locks head to State Capitol railing, via JSOnline)


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