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Trump fake electors in Wisconsin settle lawsuit and agree Biden won in 2020

First time that pro-Trump fake electors have agreed to such a deal as investigations continue in other states

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 06 December 2023 21:39 GMT
Related video: Trump ally Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia election interference case

A group of 10 Republicans who acted as “fake electors” in the 2020 presidential election and signed official-looking paperwork claiming Donald Trump won Wisconsin have settled a lawsuit against them.

They have agreed to withdraw their inaccurate filings, acknowledge Joe Biden won the presidency and not serve as presidential electors in 2024 or in any election where Trump is on the ballot.

The 10 fake electors will send a statement to the government offices that received the Electoral College votes saying that their actions were “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results”.

Electors are people appointed to represent voters in presidential elections. The winner of the popular vote in each state determines which party’s electors are sent to the Electoral College, which meets in December after the election to certify the outcome.

This is the first time that pro-Trump fake electors have agreed to such a deal. Republicans in three other states — Michigan, Georgia and Nevada — face criminal charges for similar actions and investigations are underway in two more states — Arizona and New Mexico.

The lawsuit was filed by two of the state’s rightful electors for President Joe Biden who sought up to $200,000 from each of the fake Trump electors. However, there is no financial component to the settlement. The case was scheduled to go to a trial by jury in September 2024, two months before the next presidential election.

As part of the settlement, there is no admission of wrongdoing or liability. The fake electors in Wisconsin have always maintained that they were participating in the plan in case a court ruled that then-president Trump had won the state instead of Mr Biden.

Wisconsin state Republican Chairman Andrew Hitt, one of the fake electors, said in a statement on Wednesday: “The Wisconsin electors were tricked and misled into participating in what became the alternate elector scheme and would have never taken any actions had we known that there were ulterior reasons beyond preserving an ongoing legal strategy.”

Mr Hitt said he has been working with the Justice Department since May of 2022 and he will not be supporting Mr Trump in 2024.

The Biden electors in Wisconsin are continuing their lawsuit against two attorneys who assisted the Wisconsin Republicans — Kenneth Chesebro and Jim Troupis, a former Dane County judge who acted as a lawyer for Mr Trump and led recount efforts in the state.

Mr Chesebro, the so-called architect of the “fake electors” scheme to keep Donald Trump in power, reached a plea deal in Georgia and is now cooperating with authorities in Nevada.

A grand jury there on Wednesday indicted six Republicans who participated in the scheme in that state intending to overturn President Biden’s 2020 election win.

The Wisconsin lawsuit cites a memo Mr Chesebro sent to Mr Troupis, in November 2020 detailing the elector plan.

Under the terms of the settlement, the fake electors also released nearly 600 pages of documents related to their scheme which show one Republican involved with the plot texting another one referring to their action declaring Trump the winner of Wisconsin as a “possible steal”.

The sender said they felt compelled to go along with the plan or else Trump supporters would be upset and there “would be a target on my back.”

The settlement was announced by Law Forward, Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and the Madison-based Stafford Rosenbaum law firm.

“Americans believe in democracy and the idea that the people choose their leaders through elections,” said Jeff Mandell, one of the attorneys who brought the case on behalf of Democratic voters, including two who served as Biden electors. “The defendants’ actions violated those bedrock principles. We brought this case to ensure that they are held accountable.”

There is no known criminal investigation ongoing in Wisconsin. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has signalled that he is relying on federal investigators to look into what happened in Wisconsin, while also not ruling out a state probe.

Former president Trump continues to spread falsehoods about the 2020 election.

With reporting by The Associated Press

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