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Three Trump allies charged in Wisconsin fake elector scheme

June 05, 2024
James Troupis, Ken Chesebro and Mike Roman
James Troupis, Ken Chesebro and Mike Roman

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin attorney general on Tuesday filed charges against three allies of Donald Trump accused of taking part in the effort to put forth a slate of fake electors and usurp the 2020 presidential election, according to online court records.

The men – Kenneth Chesebro, a right-wing attorney who helped devise the fake elector plot; Jim Troupis, a former Trump lawyer; and Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign official – are each facing a single forgery charge.

Wisconsin is the latest state to bring charges against people connected to the former president involved in the broad effort to overturn the presidential election results. State prosecutors in Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia also have brought charges against a swath of Trump’s allies.

An attorney for Chesebro declined to comment. CNN has reached out to attorneys for Troupis and Roman.

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a one word response to the charges Tuesday: “Good.”

CNN previously reported that Chesebro was helping investigators in at least four states, including Wisconsin, who were looking into the fake electors scheme. Chesebro’s lawyers had believed that his cooperation would be enough for him to stave off charges.

The criminal complaint, however, suggests that Chesebro made false statements to investigators about his use of social media, which may have played a role in prosecutors bringing charges against him despite his earlier cooperation. The charging document specifically points to an investigation by CNN’s KFile revealing Chesebro’s secret Twitter account.

Last year, the 10 fake electors from Wisconsin disavowed their attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat in 2020, recognized the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory, and pledged not to serve as real electors in 2024 or any election when Trump is on the ballot – or to act as sham electors in any future election, as part of a civil lawsuit settlement.

The 10 fake electors issued a statement acknowledging that the phony certificates they signed in December 2020 were “used as part of an attempt to improperly overturn” the lawful 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,” a portion of their statement said. “We oppose any attempt to undermine the public’s faith in the ultimate results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Chesebro was previously charged, and pleaded guilty, in the Georgia probe. He has also been identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Arizona state-level criminal probe focused on efforts to overturn the 2020 election and in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election case against Trump.

Roman was charged in both the Georgia and Arizona cases.

Troupis has not been charged in any other criminal cases stemming from the 2020 election but evidence has emerged in connection with the fake electors plot in Wisconsin and other key battleground states.

A tranche of emails and text messages made public as the result of a lawsuit earlier this year offered additional evidence that Chesebro pushed for the electors plot to move forward regardless of whether Trump won any lawsuits challenging the election results. This undercut his testimony to state prosecutors in which he said the fake electors were contingent on winning the litigation.

Chesebro wrote a series of memos in 2020 spelling out what the pro-Trump electors should do in their respective states, including one memo in early December that Troupis claimed he sent directly to the White House, according to the newly released messages.

Charging documents released Tuesday lean heavily on the communications, which were previously reported by CNN and others.

Prosecutors cite text messages detailing how Chesebro, Troupis and Roman were involved in a last-minute scramble to fly the fake elector documents from Wisconsin and Michigan to Washington, DC, in the immediate lead-up to January 6, 2021.

The goal, according to those messages, was to hand deliver the fake elector certificates to then-Vice President Mike Pence, which is vaguely referenced in Smith’s federal indictment.

Chesebro discussed the episode with Wisconsin investigators when he sat for an interview as part of the attorney general’s probe into the fake electors plot.

Wisconsin prosecutors asked about the episode “extensively,” a source familiar with the matter said at the time, noting Chesebro discussed how a Wisconsin GOP staffer flew the certificate from Milwaukee to Washington and then handed it off to Chesebro. — CNN


June 05, 2024
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