Court holds off on release of documents in probe of Wisconsin Gov. Walker's recall campaign

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MADISON, Wisconsin — A federal appeals court may hold off on releasing nearly three dozen sealed documents tied to a secret investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's campaign, according to a lawyer representing groups which want the documents made public.

A coalition of media and open government advocates had asked the court to release sealed documents in the case. The court had planned to release 34 sealed documents Tuesday.

But that did not happen, and media and open government coalition's attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr., said in an email to The Associated Press that the court is likely waiting for him to file a response to Monday's motions. He said he has 10 days to submit something but planned to file a response on Wednesday.

The documents are related to a two-year investigation by a group of prosecutors into whether Walker's 2012 recall election campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups on advertising and fundraising. They've been using a procedure known as a John Doe, a proceeding similar to a federal grand jury where information is tightly controlled.

No one has been charged thus far and a federal judge halted the probe in May after one of the groups, Wisconsin Club for Growth, argued the investigation violates its free speech rights. Prosecutors have asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to allow the probe to start again.

Wisconsin Club for Growth, two unnamed parties and the prosecutors filed motions on Monday asking the court to keep all or a portion of the documents secret, arguing they contain information that could harm the reputations of people caught up in the probe and compromise the investigation if the 7th Circuit allows it to start up again.

The court hadn't responded to the motions, released any documents or offered any hint of what it might do next by late Tuesday.

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