Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's former deputy chief of staff and a top adviser during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, pleaded guilty during what's known as a John Doe investigation and was sentenced to six months in jail for performing campaign duties from her government office in what was then Walker's Milwaukee county executive administration.
A John Doe investigation is a criminal prosecution conducted in secret and where the government has wide authority to compel evidence and testimony from government officials.
During the course of that investigation, prosecutors sought and received search warrants granting access to thousands of Rindfleisch's emails. Because of the nature of the John Doe investigation, those documents were never made public. But now that Rindfleisch is appealing her conviction in open court, several news agencies petitioned the judge in the case to make them public.
Rindfleisch is permitted to appeal the case despite pleading guilty on the grounds the search warrants used against her were too broad and violated her Fourth Amendment rights, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said.
Rindfleisch's attorney argued against releasing the emails, but Judge Neal Nettesheim sided with the news agencies. He offered Rindfleisch time to review the emails and redact any personal information, such as Social Security numbers and other data that could be used against her, but Rindfleisch declined, likely hastening the document release, the Journal Sentinel said.