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Wisconsin lawsuit settlement pulls back curtain on fake-electors scheme

‘Wisconsin appears to be the most organized state so far,’ read a Dec. 11, 2020, email from the Trump campaign’s associate general counsel More than 1,400 pages of emails, text messages and other documents released Monday reveal details of a strategy by Republican operatives tied to then-President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin.

The documents — settling a civil lawsuit filed against two attorneys and 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as fake electors — also allow a deeper look into how the strategy played out in other battleground states.

Who’s behind the lawsuit? Two Wisconsin Democratic electors and a voter filed the lawsuit in 2022 alleging a conspiracy by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in the presidential race in the state.

It named attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Jim Troupis, along with 10 Republicans who signed documents falsely stating they were electors. The electors settled in December. Chesebro and Troupis settled by agreeing to turn over the documents.

Chesebro worked closely with the Trump campaign. Troupis, a former judge, served as Trump’s attorney in Wisconsin.

What does the settlement mean? The settlement lays bare the orchestrated plan to keep Trump in office by creating paperwork and pulling together false slates of Republican electors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and belatedly New Mexico.

The trove of documents shows the plot’s origins in Wisconsin — which federal prosecutors have also noted — and how it was replicated with coordination between the attorneys and the Trump campaign.

“The goals of the lawsuit were about transparence, accountability and deterrence,” said attorney Jeffrey Mandell, who helped negotiate the settlement for the plaintiffs.

Chesebro and Troupis didn’t admit any wrongdoing or liability, but they have promised never to participate in similar efforts. Troupis must also pay an undisclosed amount.

Text messages between the two in the final months of 2020 show how they looked for ways to draft false certificates for the fake electors, among other things.