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Prosecutors defend search warrant tactics in John Doe investigation

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  State prosecutors said a federal judge was wrong to declare that targets were aggressively raided at their homes during the John Doe probe into the state's recall elections. Milwaukee County D-A John Chisholm defended his evidence-gathering techniques in a court filing, as he appeals Judge Rudolph Randa's ruling which halted the John Doe last month. The ruling came in a lawsuit by the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth, which claims its free-speech rights were violated. An attorney for Chisholm told the federal appeals court in Chicago that the Club for Growth has not produced witnesses or evidence to back up their claims about strong-armed raids on conservatives' homes. In his ruling last month, Randa said sheriff's deputies used bright flood-lights to illuminate the targets' homes at night -- and they took business papers and equipment while "their targets were restrained under police supervision and denied the ability to contact their attorneys."

Randa had referred in part to raids last October at the homes of Club for Growth consultants R-J Johnson and Deborah Jordahl.

Prosecutors are trying to revive the John Doe in the midst of reported settlement talks. The probe is looking alleged illegal fund-raising and coordination between private groups and Republican candidates -- including Governor Scott Walker's camp -- in the 2011-'12 recall elections.