- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The state Department of Justice appealed an order Friday to release videos of training seminars Republican attorney general Brad Schimel gave for prosecutors that Democrats think show him making inappropriate remarks.

The state Democratic Party says it has received tips that Schimel made the remarks at five DOJ-run training seminars between 2009 and last year. Schimel has denied the allegations.

Democrats filed an open records request for videos of the five seminars in September. DOJ officials denied the request last week, saying they can’t find three of the videos and won’t release the other two out of concerns they would reveal prosecutors’ strategies and compromise victim privacy.

Democrats filed a lawsuit asking a judge to force the agency to release the videos. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess viewed the two vides privately and on Thursday sided with the party and ordered DOJ to release them by midday Friday, saying nothing in them reveals any secret law enforcement tactics and they don’t identify any victims. He said in court Thursday the videos were so routine they made his eyes glaze over.

He said if the agency appealed his order before the deadline it would trigger an automatic delay in releasing the videos at least until Monday morning, when he would hold a hearing on whether to force the release even though the appeal was pending.

The department filed notice of appeal with the 2nd District Court of Appeals just before 11 a.m. Friday. The agency asked the court to expedite the case.

Schimel, the Waukesha County district attorney, is locked in a tight race with Democrat Susan Happ, the Jefferson County district attorney to replace outgoing Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

The election is Tuesday. Democrats want to examine the videos before then in hopes of finding something they can use against Schimel before the polls close.

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