MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin state appeals court on Wednesday released thousands of emails and other previously sealed documents collected during a criminal investigation into a former aide to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
The Associated Press and other media organizations pressed for them to be made public.
The documents include 27,000 pages of emails Kelly Rindfleisch sent while working for Walker as his deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County executive in 2010. Rindfleisch was convicted in 2012 of misconduct in office, a felony, for doing campaign work for Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis on government time. She was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation.
Walker, who is up for re-election this year and eyeing a possible run for president in 2016, was not charged with any wrongdoing in the investigation.
The governor said Wednesday morning, just minutes before the documents were released, that he had not seen them but was confident they would contain no surprises.
‘‘Most of those would be four or more years old and they've gone through a legal process ... a multi-year extensive legal process by which each and every one of those communications was reviewed by authorities,’’ Walker told reporters after giving a speech in Madison. ‘‘I'm confident that they reviewed them and they chose to act on the ones they've already made public.’’
Rindfleisch is appealing her conviction, arguing that the scope of the search warrants used against her were so broad that her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches was violated.
Many of the documents released Wednesday, which were expected to show communication between Rindfleisch and Walker and his campaign team, were added last year at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Justice so it could argue that the scope of the search warrants in the case was appropriate.
Rindfleisch was one of six people convicted following a secret John Doe investigation into former aides and associates of Walker’s when he was Milwaukee County executive before being elected governor in 2010.
A second secret ongoing investigation is reportedly looking into fundraising and other activities by Walker’s campaign and other conservative groups.
Walker’s political foes were pouring over the documents to find anything that could be used against him. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was scheduled to hold a news conference to react to the release on Wednesday afternoon.
Walker said that was an example of cynicism in politics.
‘‘These people are naysayers who want things bad to happen in Wisconsin so they are going to be circling again today,’’ Walker said. ‘‘It’s exactly what’s wrong with the political process that they’re hoping for something bad to happen in Wisconsin. It’s not. They’re going to do what they've done in the past which is over-hype things. And politically they’re going to be disappointed.’’
Besides AP, other media groups that intervened in the case to get the records released were the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.