Court documents released Friday in the so-called “John Doe investigation” into political supporters of Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker show prosecutors subpoenaed phone-company records and that the probe went deeper than previously known, say conservatives who were targeted.
Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by the John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation, according to The Wisconsin Reporter.
O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights suit against the prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.
“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the federal appeals court.
The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time.
Prosecutors conducted the investigation under the theory that at least 29 conservative organizations may have illegally coordinated with Walker’s campaign during Wisconsin’s partisan political recall elections in 2011 and 2012.
The investigation was conducted by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, until a federal judge halted it in May.
The newly released documents show prosecutors’ subpoena requests sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period.
Prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” and more, according to the conservatives’ court filing.
By M.D. Kittle