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Wisconsin’s fake electors settle lawsuit, acknowledge Biden won in 2020

The 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as electors for President Donald Trump in 2020 even though he had lost the election settled a lawsuit against them Wednesday, acknowledging their actions were part of an effort to overturn the election results. 

By Henry Redman, Wisconsin Examiner - December 06, 2023
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Supporters of President Donald Trump hold signs as they attend a "Stop The Steal" rally, protesting the outcome of the presidential election, at the Oregon State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)

The 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as electors for President Donald Trump in 2020 even though he had lost the election settled a lawsuit against them Wednesday, acknowledging their actions were part of an effort to overturn the election results. 

The lawsuit was filed last year by two of the state’s rightful electors, alleging the 10 false electors had engaged in a plot to defraud Wisconsin voters. The lawsuit had sought up to $200,000 from each elector, but no money is being exchanged as part of the settlement. 

Wisconsin was one of several swing states in which groups of Republicans cast false electoral votes for Trump and sent them to Congress. The electors in two other states are facing criminal charges for their actions. The settlement marks the first time false electors in any state have revoked their filings and said they will not repeat their actions. 

The 10 Republicans have also agreed not to serve as electors in any presidential election in which Trump is on the ballot. Trump is currently the leading candidate in the Republican primary race. 

On the day that the duly elected presidential electors met in December 2020, the group of Republicans met in secret to cast Electoral College votes for Trump, claiming they were casting them in case Trump’s efforts to change the election results in court were successful. The false votes were cast hours after the state Supreme Court had voted 4-3 against the Trump campaign’s efforts to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in Dane and Milwaukee counties in an attempt to change the results — effectively ending the campaign’s legal battles in Wisconsin.

The false electoral votes were sent to the National Archives, Congress, then-Secretary of State Douglas La Follette and a federal judge. The votes played a major role in sparking the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

“On December 14, 2020, in compliance with requests received from the Trump campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin, we met at the Wisconsin State Capitol and executed a document titled ‘Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Wisconsin,’” the 10 Republican electors said in a statement as part of the settlement. “That document stated, in part, that we were ‘the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Wisconsin.’ The Elector Defendants took the foregoing action because they were told that it was necessary to preserve their electoral votes in the event a court challenge may later change the outcome of the election in Wisconsin. That document was then used as part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

“We hereby reaffirm that Joseph R. Biden, Jr. won the 2020 presidential election and that we were not the duly elected presidential electors for the State of Wisconsin for the 2020 presidential election,” the statement continues. “We oppose any attempt to undermine the public’s faith in the ultimate results of the 2020 presidential election.”

While the 10 Republican electors agreed to settle the claims against them, the case continues against two attorneys who played a crucial role in the scheme. Jim Troupis, a former Dane County judge who served as legal counsel for the Trump campaign, and Kenneth Cheseboro, who urged the Wisconsin Republicans to undertake the plan in a November 2020 memo and is facing criminal charges in Georgia for the false electoral votes cast in that state, are set to face a civil trial next year. 

The group of false electors included Andrew Hitt, who was then the chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and Robert Spindell, who continues to serve as a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission — the agency responsible for administering elections in the state. 

Documents released as part of the settlement include text messages in which one of the Republicans refers to the false elector plan as a “possible steal.” Another text showed an elector saying that not going along with the plan would “piss off the Trump base.” 

The emails and text messages released show the electors had varying degrees of belief in the likelihood of the plan succeeding, some of which had previously been released by the congressional committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack. 

The released texts show that on Jan. 5, 2021, Wisconsin GOP staffer Alesha Guenther flew to Washington D.C. to deliver the false votes. 

“5 minutes until I make the drop,” she wrote to Hitt. “I feel like a drug dealer.”


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