Trump’s ‘Fake Electors’ Scheme Detailed in Newly Released Messages

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Trump’s ‘Fake Electors’ Scheme Detailed in Newly Released Messages


Just five days after Election Day in 2020, a conservative lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro emailed a former judge who worked for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, James R. Troupis, and pitched him an idea like that Results could be overturned.

Through litigation, Mr. Chesebro said, the Trump campaign could allege “various systemic abuses” and, while litigation is pending, encourage lawmakers to appoint “alternative” pro-Trump voters who could be certified in place of those chosen by the Voters elected Biden voters.

“At the very least, with such a cloud of confusion, no votes from WI (and perhaps MI and PA) should be counted, perhaps enough to throw the election into the House,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Troupis, referring to the swing states Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Troupis quickly brought Mr. Chesebro onto Trump’s legal team and directed him to lay out the plans in a series of memos now central to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, and a month later – with the help of Reince Priebus , the former White House chief of staff — secured a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House.

The email is the earliest known evidence of Mr. Chesebro’s involvement in the so-called fake voter conspiracy. It was released Monday along with a trove of more than 1,400 pages of text messages and emails from Mr. Troupis and Mr. Chesebro as they settled a lawsuit filed against them in Wisconsin.

Taken together, the documents show in new detail that the Trump campaign’s litigation strategy was designed not so much to win in court but rather to cover its political efforts. And they underscore the central role that Mr. Troupis – previously a little-known figure in the effort to overturn the election – played in promoting the plans.

The messages also detail how Mr. Chesebro worked to get the fake voters’ documents into the hands of members of Congress, and how Mr. Chesebro – who has since pleaded guilty in Georgia to a conspiracy charge related to the scheme – The crowd celebrated as it gathered in Washington on January 6, 2021, before a violent mob stormed the Capitol.

“Enjoy the history you made possible today,” Mr. Troupis wrote in a text message to Mr. Chesebro at 11:04 a.m. that day.

The new details come from the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the progressive law firm Law Forward and the Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection against Mr. Chesebro, Mr. Troupis and the so-called fake voters in Wisconsin.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of legitimate presidential electors and Wisconsin voters.

The alleged electors have already settled their part of the lawsuit and admitted that President Biden won the 2020 election.

Mr. Troupis and Mr. Chesebro agreed not to engage in similar work in the future, including not participating in a program to improve false voter lists.

The settlement also included payment of an undisclosed amount to the plaintiffs.

“As these documents show, the voter fraud plot originated in Wisconsin, where Trump campaign attorney James Troupis and legal counsel Ken Chesebro hatched the plan that ultimately provided the false narrative that the rioters used to justify the attack on the Capitol,” said Mary McCord, the director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown.

In a statement, Mr. Troupis said he entered into the settlement to “avoid endless litigation, and nothing in today’s settlement constitutes, nor should it be, an admission of fault.”

“It is the duty of lawyers to represent their clients vigorously within the limits of the law, regardless of their popularity,” he said. “Our representation was vigorous and ethical.”

Mr. Chesebro’s memos were central to the federal indictment of Mr. Trump on charges of seeking to overturn the 2020 election. They are cited as evidence of how the Trump campaign’s plans evolved from legal challenges to what prosecutors call a criminal conspiracy to “stage a false controversy that would undermine the proper certification of Biden as president-elect.” .

The memos also became the basis for a strategy by conservative lawyer John Eastman and Mr. Trump that a federal judge called a “coup in search of a legal theory.”

In a Nov. 19, 2020, email to Mr. Troupis, Mr. Chesebro wrote that the Trump lawyers “should try to get two bites at the apple – ligature, hoping to ultimately win by Jan. 6, but “We should also take advantage of the delay in litigation to try to win in the state legislature on December 8th.”

Several of the documents refer to a meeting between Mr. Troupis and Mr. Chesebro with Mr. Trump on December 15, 2020 in the Oval Office.

“The people of the country are quite clear that this would not be happening if you and Reince and others had not pushed it forward!” Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Troupis two days before the White House visit.

The messages indicate that they were told to keep the meeting secret and not to bring anything for Mr. Trump to sign.

“Reince made it very clear in his admonition that nothing about our meeting with the president was to be shared with anyone,” Mr. Troupis subsequently wrote to Mr. Chesebro.

Mr. Chesebro provided his account of the meeting to prosecutors in Michigan investigating the fraud voter conspiracy. He said Mr. Priebus told the men not to get Mr. Trump’s hopes up about his chances of winning, but Mr. Chesebro admitted he had not listened to that advice.

“We had until January 6 to win,” Mr. Chesebro recalled of what he told Mr. Trump at the meeting, according to an audio recording obtained by CNN, adding: “That got me real after that Difficulties.”

Mr. Chesebro did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Preibus declined to comment. A person familiar with his actions said he recommended Mr. Troupis as an attorney in Wisconsin, his home state, to the Trump campaign, but was not involved in day-to-day legal efforts.

The person said that he had simply arranged a “photo op” for the men at Mr. Troupis’ request and had not met Mr. Chesebro or known who he was until that day. The person gave a similar account of the meeting to Mr. Chesebro, saying Mr. Preibus did not want them to encourage the president to fight the election results.

Still, after the meeting, both Mr. Troupis and Mr. Chesebro seemed to feel they had special knowledge of Mr. Trump’s plans.

After Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that he would hold a rally in Washington on Jan. 6: “Be there, it’s going to be wild!” he urged his supporters in a message that served as a crucial call to action for far-right groups served – Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Troupis: “Wow. Based on where we stood three days ago, I think we have a unique understanding of this.”

Although the plans originated in Wisconsin, the messages show that the men viewed Georgia as the key to achieving their goals.

“With Georgia pending before the Supreme Court on January 6th, a pretty significant move for Pence when he arrives in Georgia would be to simply refuse to open any of the Georgia envelopes,” Mr. Chesebro wrote on December 26th, 2020 referred to Vice President Mike Pence’s ceremonial role in Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results.

On the morning of Jan. 6, Mr. Chesebro said he had been working with Michael Roman, the Trump campaign’s director of Election Day operations, and a day earlier had handed over documents for the phony voter lists to an aide to Republican Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania. That aide brought her to the Senate parliamentarian, he said.

“Excellent,” replied Mr. Troupis. “Let’s talk about future SCOTUS strategy tomorrow. Enjoy the history you made possible today.”

Mr. Chesebro later sent a photo of himself with the crowd at 12:26 p.m. on January 6.

Mr. Troupis responded with a clapping hands emoji.



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2024-03-05 03:37:22

www.nytimes.com