MADISON, Wis. — Not a good day for John Doe prosecutors-turned defendants in a civil rights lawsuit.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that a lower court did have the authority to issue a preliminary injunction, shutting down the nearly 3-year-old John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative targets.

Prosecutors in that investigation — including Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, two of his assistant DAs, John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and Dean Nickel, a contracted investigator — had sought relief from the appeals court, asking that the 7th Circuit stay the preliminary injunction.