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Landmark settlement in lawsuit against Wisconsin fraudulent electors scheme

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Two Joyce Foundation grantees recently reached settlement agreements in a novel legal case seeking to hold accountable individuals who played a key role in a scheme to submit a fraudulent slate of electors from the State of Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election.

The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) at Georgetown Law School, Wisconsin-based Law Forward, and law firm Stafford Rosenbaum LLP filed a first-of-its-kind civil lawsuit in 2022 against ten individuals in Wisconsin who signed paperwork falsely claiming to be electors for former President Trump and two lawyers who orchestrated the 2020 plan to submit a false slate of electors.

In August of 2023, the state judge rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss, paving the way for the case to go to trial in September 2024. Remarkably—both sets of defendants, the false electors and separately, the campaign’s lawyers, agreed to settle the case.

On December 6, 2023, ICAP and Law Forward announced the first settlement with the Elector Defendants. The terms of the agreement included a public acknowledgement by the ten individuals that they were not lawful electors for the State of Wisconsin, that their false elector votes were cast at the behest of the Trump Campaign and state Republican Party and were used as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The defendants further agreed not to serve as electors in the next election and authorized release of numerous documents including emails and text messages.

On March 4, 2024, ICAP and Law Forward announced a second settlement with the Lawyer Defendants, James Troupis and Kenneth Chesebro, the Trump Campaign’s Wisconsin lawyer and national legal advisor, respectively. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Troupis and Chesebro released a vast trove of documents, including text messages and emails, which show how the false elector scheme was initially conceived for use in Wisconsin and spread to additional battleground states. While neither of the Legal Defendants admitted wrongdoing, they did agree not to participate in a similar false elector scheme in future presidential elections. Chesebro has pled guilty in a separate election interference case in Georgia.

This lawsuit settlement marks an important step towards transparency and accountability, by releasing more than 1,400 pages of documents, text and email messages, photos and videos that document behind-the-scenes efforts in Wisconsin and nationally to interfere with lawful 2020 election results.

About The Joyce Foundation

Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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