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Federal court gives Wisconsin governor big win

MADISON, Wis. — Governor Scott Walker emerged with a major victory this week when a federal court halted a secret investigation into his 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported him, ruling the inquiry was a breach of free-speech rights.

The decision could boost Walker’s reelection campaign and remove a potential obstacle as he eyes a possible 2016 presidential run.

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While prosecutors quickly filed an appeal Wednesday to overturn the preliminary injunction issued Tuesday night, those who have followed this case and an earlier inquiry that focused on former Walker aides and associates said the ruling is a clear victory for the Republican and his allies.

The ruling will help to silence Walker’s critics who tried to use the investigations against him, said Mike Maistelman, a Milwaukee attorney who represented Democratic and Republican elected officials in a variety of cases.

Walker said he hadn’t read the judge’s ruling and didn’t have much to say about it.

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