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Judge rules attorneys in Wisconsin fake electors lawsuit can stay on the case

The lawsuit by Democrats is seeking punitive damages of up to $2.4M

Front of the Dane County Courthouse
Dane County Courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin. Shawn Johnson/WPR

The attorneys bringing a lawsuit against Republican fake electors and their lawyers in Wisconsin will be allowed to remain on the case.

Dane County Judge Frank Remington ruled against a motion to have them removed from the case yesterday.

The case was brought on behalf of Democrats by attorneys for Law Forward and the firm Stafford Rosenbaum. They sued Wisconsin Republicans who posed as electors after the 2020 election. They also sued the lawyers who helped them.

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That included Jim Troupis, who was the lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin after the 2020 election. Troupis argued Stafford Rosenbaum had a conflict of interest because the firm had represented him and his wife for estate planning work. Suing him, Troupis argued, would be a violation of attorney-client privilege, and he wanted the firms removed from the case.

But in an oral ruling yesterday, Judge Remington said Stafford Rosenbaum had done fewer than 10 hours of work for Troupis, which concluded in 2019.

“There is no specific evidence submitted to this court which would cause this court to find that Mr. or Mrs. Troupis has provided any personal financial or confidential information to Stafford,” Remington said.

The order means the case can proceed, but there has been no major substantive ruling in the case so far.

Democrats filed the case last year, arguing that the 10 Republicans and two attorneys who advised them broke a variety of laws, including one that bans people from falsely acting as public officials. Plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages of up to $2.4 million.

Republicans named in the lawsuit met at the state Capitol to cast votes for Trump on Dec. 14, 2020, the same day Wisconsin’s Democratic electors cast Wisconsin’s official electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Both meetings happened shortly after the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign’s last remaining lawsuit in Wisconsin seeking to overturn Biden’s victory in Wisconsin. Trump and his allies had previously lost several cases challenging election results in both state and federal courts.

Wisconsin’s actual electors sent official documents affirming Biden’s victory to the president of the U.S. Senate, the Wisconsin secretary of state, the National Archives and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The Republicans posing as electors sent their own official-looking documents to the same places.

The Democratic plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit include Khary Penebaker and Mary Arnold, two of the official electors who cast votes for Biden. They also include Democratic activist Bonnie Joseph.

The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission already rejected a formal complaint against the Republicans, who have argued they were preserving legal options for former President Donald Trump. Additionally, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, has declined to charge the false electors.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Stafford Rosenbaum.

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