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UPDATE: Federal appeals court stays Tuesday's ruling halting John Doe probe

CHICAGO (WTAQ) - A federal appeals court in Chicago Wednesday has blocked a court ruling from less than 24 hours earlier which put the brakes on a John Doe investigation into alleged illegal campaign activities in the Wisconsin recall elections.  

The three-judge panel also ruled that prosecutors can keep evidence gathered in the case, after Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa ruled evidence collected thus far can be destroyed.

Prosecutors said Tuesday's order to destroy the documents they gathered was inappropriate -- and it cannot be brought back if the John Doe is eventually allowed to continue.  

The probe was looking into alleged illegal campaign coordination between conservative groups and GOP candidates in the 2011 and '12 recall elections -- including Governor Scott Walker.  

Randa said the investigation violated the free speech rights of one of the targets, the Wisconsin Club for Growth.  

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called the Randa ruling a "vindication" which showed that the investigation was more about a political motive than about fact finding. 

Samuel Leib, one of the attorneys who filed the appeal on behalf of the prosecution, said that nobody's "above the law" -- or above an investigation into a person's conduct. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)