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Politics

Wisconsin Attorney General Files Felony Charges Against Jim Troupis in “Fake Election Scheme”

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed felony forgery charges Tuesday against two attorneys and an aide who helped submit paperwork falsely saying that former President Donald Trump had won the battleground state in 2020.

The charges were filed against attorneys Kenneth Chesebro, 62, and Jim Troupis, 70, and former Trump aide Mike Roman, 51, who allegedly delivered Wisconsin’s fake elector paperwork to a Pennsylvania congressman’s staffer in order to get them to then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, 2021.

All three are due in Dane County Circuit Court on Sept. 19, according to court records. They each face one felony count punishable by up to six years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Troupis and Chesebro did not return voicemail messages left Tuesday. Roman did not have an attorney listed in court records.

Kaul, a Democrat, has faced pressure to bring action against the 10 fake electors, who have yet to be charged with any criminal wrongdoing. He has previously suggested that he was relying on federal investigators while also not ruling out a state probe.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers offered a one-word response to news of the charges being filed: “Good.”

Electors are people appointed to represent voters in presidential elections. The winner of the popular vote in each state determines which party’s electors are sent to the Electoral College, which meets in December after the election to certify the outcome.

The fake elector efforts are central to an August federal indictment filed against Trump alleging he tried to overturn results of the 2020 election. Federal prosecutors, investigating his conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, have also said the scheme originated in Wisconsin. Trump also faces charges in Georgia and has denied wrongdoing.

Michigan and Nevada have also criminally charged fake electors.

Chesebro and Roman were among the 18 people indicted along with Trump in August in a sprawling racketeering indictment in Georgia. They’re accused of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to try to illegally overturn the 2020 election in that state.

Chesebro in October pleaded guilty to one felony charge of conspiracy to commit filing false documents after reaching a deal with prosecutors. Roman has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges related to a plan to have Republican electors meet and cast Electoral College votes for Trump even though Biden had won Georgia.

The 10 Wisconsin electors, Chesebro and Troupis, who was Trump’s attorney in Wisconsin, all settled a civil lawsuit that was brought against them last year.

Documents released as part of those settlements showed that the strategy in Wisconsin replicated moves in six other swing states.

Trump lost Wisconsin to Biden, a Democrat, by fewer than 21,000 votes. Trump carried Wisconsin by a similar margin in 2016.

Wisconsin is one of a handful of swing states again this year.

Government and outside investigationshave uniformly found there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have swung the 2020 election. But Trump has continued to spread falsehoods about the election, particularly in Wisconsin.

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By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press

Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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