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Federal judge won't drop suit challenging first John Doe probe

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A federal judge has refused to drop a legal challenge to the John Doe probe into alleged illegal campaign activities from Wisconsin's recall elections.

Tuesday, Judge Rudolph Randa said he would not approve a request by state prosecutors to throw out a lawsuit from the Wisconsin Club for Growth which seeks to halt the secret John Doe probe.

The Milwaukee County DA's office is looking into alleged illegal campaign coordination between conservative outfits, and Governor Scott Walker and other recall candidates from 2011 and '12.

The Club for Growth said the probe violates its rights to free speech, free assembly, and equal protections granted under the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors said federal courts are generally barred from being involved in state cases.

Randa said the ban applies when states make prosecutions -- and the case is not at that stage yet.

State courts are considering several other challenges to the current John Doe. Most seek to drop the probe, in which the state secretly gathers testimony and evidence to help decide whether charges should be filed.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)