Wisconsin Charges 3 Trump Allies in Fake Electors Scheme

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Wisconsin brought felony charges on Tuesday against three onetime advisers of former President Donald J. Trump in connection with a fake electors plot there in 2020, becoming the fifth battleground state to prosecute his allies for their attempts to overturn his defeat that year.

Kenneth Chesebro, an architect of the Trump campaign’s plans to impanel slates of bogus electors in several states that Mr. Trump lost, was named as a defendant in the action by Wisconsin’s attorney general, Josh Kaul, a Democrat.

The other men charged were James R. Troupis, a former judge who was working for the campaign in Wisconsin, and Michael Roman, who was Mr. Trump’s director of Election Day operations.

All three face a single count of forgery-uttering, a felony in Wisconsin that carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

During a news conference in Madison on Tuesday, Mr. Kaul said the state’s investigation into the matter was continuing. He declined to elaborate on the details surrounding the charges, which were laid out in complaints filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

“We feel confident in the charges we’ve brought,” Mr. Kaul said.

In total, 52 people have been charged in criminal cases in five states stemming from efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a group headlined by Mr. Trump, who was indicted last year in Georgia under a state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act law, and who also faces a federal election-interference case. He was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in Michigan.

Several defendants have already pleaded guilty or reached cooperation deals, including Mr. Chesebro, who in October pleaded guilty in a criminal racketeering indictment in Georgia and agreed to cooperate with state prosecutors. He has emerged as a key witness for prosecutors in other states.

Manny Arora, one of Mr. Chesebro’s lawyers in Georgia, declined to comment on Tuesday about the Wisconsin case.In one of the criminal complaints, an investigator for the state described the three defendants as having played key roles in drafting and circulating a certificate that was signed by a group of Mr. Trump’s Wisconsin allies under the guise that the fake electors had been duly appointed.

The certificate did not contain a disclaimer that the slate of electors had been impaneled as a contingency, in the event that Mr. Trump’s team succeeded with its legal challenges of the election results, the investigator said.

The complaint alleged that the three men participated in a clandestine effort to circulate the document before a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2001, to certify the election results, a process that was disrupted by a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters.

Wisconsin is the third state to charge Mr. Roman, after Georgia and Arizona, where he is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. A lawyer for Mr. Roman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Mr. Troupis has drawn attention for having recruited Mr. Chesebro to Mr. Trump’s legal team and for an email exchange between him and Mr. Chesebro after the 2020 election in which the two discussed how the Trump campaign could get false-elector documents into the hands of members of Congress.

Phone and email messages seeking comment from Mr. Troupis, a former judge, went unanswered on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately comment on Tuesday.

Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, a Democrat, praised the charges against Mr. Trump’s allies in a one-word statement on Tuesday.

“Good,” said Mr. Evers, whose office pointed out that he had been calling for those involved in the fake electors plot to be held accountable.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, who had sowed misinformation about the results of the 2020 election, called the charges “outrageous” in a social media post.

“Now Democrats are weaponizing Wisconsin’s judiciary,” he wrote. “Apparently conservative lawyers advising clients is illegal under Democrat tyranny.”

Wisconsin will host the Republican National Convention next month in Milwaukee. There, Mr. Trump is scheduled to accept the party’s presidential nomination, just days after he is set to be sentenced in his New York hush-money case. A Manhattan jury on Thursday convicted him on all 34 felony counts.

Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.



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