Eric O’Keefe’s civil rights lawsuit against prosecutors in a Democrat-driven John Doe probe into conservative targets will go on after a federal judge on Tuesday denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the litigation.
Judge Rudolph Randa of the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee rejected the points of the motion, pushing aside the argument by the prosecutors-turned-defendants that federal courts generally must abstain from taking up federal constitutional claims that involve or call into question ongoing state proceedings.
The John Doe investigation, a multi-county secret probe into dozens of conservative groups, including conservative political activist O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for Growth, “does not fit into any of the categories” for abstention, the judge wrote in his decision.
“It is an investigatory process, not an ongoing criminal prosecution case,” Randa said.
O’Keefe and the Club for Growth are suing Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, his assistant DAs, Bruce Landgraf and David Robles, the probe’s special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, shadowy investigator, Dean Nickel, and retired appeals court Judge Gregory A. Peterson, the presiding judge in the John Doe.