Gov. Scott Walker recently made public remarks on his hope that the John Doe investigation into former Walker staffers would finish by the end of the week, but a judge that oversees the investigation said it is still open.
At a Tuesday event, Walker said he hoped the investigation, which has already charged multiple of his former staffers when he was Milwaukee county executive, would be over by this weekend. Walker has not been charged in the investigation and has repeatedly said he is not the target.
However, The Associated Press reported after Walker’s comments that retired Waukesha County Judge Neal Nettesheim called such hopes “pure conjecture.”
“The John Doe is not completed,” Nettesheim told the AP. “It is still open.”
Wednesday, Walker addressed the judge’s comments and said that he has no concrete knowledge on whether the case would be ending, emphasizing that he only expressed his hope.
He said he would be “happy and hopeful it would be done this week” and that the case has not distracted him from his duties as governor.
“It hasn’t stopped us from doing our job,” Walker said. “My focus hasn’t changed.”
United Wisconsin spokesperson Erik Kirkstein said Nettesheim’s comments show “despite Walker’s hopes,” the investigation has not concluded yet.
Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said given the secrecy around the investigation, it is hard to know who is being investigated and when it will finish. He said even if Walker is not charged, he holds him partially responsible for what has gone on.
“Even though he may not be in direct involvement, he had direct authority over these people and had meetings with them in the mornings,” Kraig said.
Tim Russell, Walker’s deputy chief of staff in his county office, agreed to a plea deal this week and has a plea hearing scheduled for Thursday. He is charged with embezzlement of $20,000 from a veteran’s organization that he was in charge of at the time.
Last month, another top aide, Kelly Rindfleisch, was sentenced to six months in jail for campaigning on taxpayer time. Two other aides will be sentenced in December and January, and a donor was given probation for two years. Russell’s domestic partner was also recently charged with child enticement. His trial begins Jan. 29.
-The Associated Press contributed to this story.