Before Texas filed a lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to block President Biden’s win in four battleground states, a draft of the petition was circulated to the Louisiana attorney general’s office.
The template then was very similar to what was eventually filed by Texas on Dec. 8. Much of the same language proposed in the draft lawsuit made it into the final Texas complaint, and certain sections of the two versions are almost word-for-word the same. But there was one main difference. It was written to be filed by Louisiana, as well as some yet-to-be-determined states, listed as states “A” and “B.” The draft complaint left template language for the future plaintiff state for fill in its lawyer and contact info. It also targeted six battleground states that went for Biden, while the final Texas version only sued four.
As the New York Times previously reported, a group of lawyers seeking to reverse Trump’s loss had turned to Louisiana in late November to bring a case before the Supreme Court, after they had initially been rebuffed by the Texas attorney general’s office. The previously-unreleased draft of the lawsuit they floated to Louisiana’s attorney general was recently obtained by TPM, via a public records request filed by the left-leaning watchdog group American Oversight. Internal communications between the Louisiana office and the Trump-aligned lawyers, which included a former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, were also obtained in American Oversight’s request and shared with TPM.
They show how Kobach repeatedly pestered Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office and what materials were used to pitch Landry on bringing the lawsuit. Much of the content of the emails is redacted. But, as the New York Times reported, the outreach to Attorney General Landry was part of a larger campaign that targeted Republican attorneys general who had previously aligned themselves with Trump. Landry was one of nine attorneys general part of a group called Lawyers for Trump, and at the time also led the Republican Attorneys General Association.
Yet, the newly-obtained emails show how Landry’s associate, Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, tried to keep at arms’ length the lawyers who were pushing the election-reversal lawsuit.
One of those lawyers was apparently Phillip Jauregui, an attorney who previously represented former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore when Moore was accused of child molestation during his 2017 Senate bid. Jauregui reached out to Murrill, whom Jauregui apparently was in touch with because of an abortion case from Louisiana that had gone to the Supreme Court. Attached to the Nov. 20 email was a document titled “GM State v State Draft 11.20 (002).docx.”
Murrill responded a few hour later to tell Jauregui she was “discussing with Jeff,” while noting the busy schedule her office was facing in the coming weeks.
Jauregui bugged Murrill again three days later and Murrill politely reminded him that she had other big cases she was preparing for.
“I was in moots all day. will see if he is free,” she wrote back.
The following day, Kobach reached out, emailing Murrill himself and, in a separate email, attempting to make contact directly with Attorney General Landry. Much of the Kobach emails to those officials is redacted but their subjects were “Presidential Election Case” and “Presidential Election Suit.”
Attached to the email Kobach sent Landry was a report by “unpaid citizens and volunteer experts.” It alleged “abnormal results” in 11 counties in Pennsylvania — one of the states the Trump allies wanted Louisiana to sue. The materials sent to Landry also included a declaration filed by the former Trump aide Matt Braynard in a seperate lawsuit alleging fraud in Wisconsin, another state whose results were to be challenged in the proposed Supreme Court lawsuit.
In her exchange with Kobach, Murrill assured Kobach, “Jeff is reviewing all of it and Texas is too,” but said she was too tied up on other matters to “engage” on the case just yet.
Kobach reached out to her again on Nov. 25 to ask her to review a version of the lawsuit that had been “revised and streamlined.”
Murrill deflected: “Have you been in touch with Texas?” she asked.
“Someone else in our group has. But if you want to forward this version to your counterpart in TX, please do so,” Kobach wrote.
Attorney General Ken Paxton did eventually agree to file the lawsuit with the Supreme Court. U.S. Justice Department emails that were released this week by the House revealed that Trump allies had pressured the DOJ to bring its own Supreme Court election-reversal case. The DOJ did not bring such a petition, but Paxton’s lawsuit eventually got the support of 17 GOP state attorneys general — including Landry.
Neither Landry’s office, nor Kobach or Jauregui, responded to TPM’s inquiry about the communications.
Read the draft lawsuit materials sent to the Louisiana Attorney General below: