Walker-Related "John Doe" Trials Get Underway This Fall

The secret "John Doe" criminal investigation of Governor Scott Walker's former staff and associates during the time he served as Milwaukee County Executive has resulted in 15 felony indictments so far.

The investigation has been underway since May 2010. In May 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story that Milwaukee County prosecutors were forced to move from a regular investigation to a secret "John Doe" criminal investigation after being stonewalled by the County Executive's office. Court records released in the trial of one of the defendants showed that prosecutors said Walker's office had been "unwilling or unable" to turn over requested records. This new information contradicts Walker's repeated claims that he has been "fully cooperating" with the investigation since the start.

In Wisconsin, a "John Doe" investigation is a closed-door criminal proceeding that operates much like a Grand Jury in other states. Rather than appearing before a jury, a John Doe investigation takes place before a judge. Witnesses with evidence relevant to the investigation can be subpoenaed and compelled to testify under oath about potential crimes. Once defendants are charged with wrongdoing, the legal process moves into open court. This John Doe is being prosecuted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm before Judge Neal Nettesheim of Waukesha. The investigation appears to be on-going and new evidence emerged earlier in the year that suggests that there is also a parallel federal investigation underway.

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This fall, there will be a number of hearings and trials related to the John Doe. See the schedule below.

These court hearing dates, times, and locations were obtained through the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access online system and are subject to change. Learn more about this complex investigation here. Follow the conversation on Twitter #johndoe and #walkergate.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is the Deputy Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and has spearheaded CMD's work on the financial crisis and the painfully slow recovery. Previously, Mary worked for ten years at the consumer group Public Citizen and served as a senior analyst on trade, financial services, toxics regulation, and food safety. She worked in Washington for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and in the Wisconsin State Senate.