The group of people who submitted fake elector certificates claiming that Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2020 admitted in a legal settlement announced on Wednesday what’s been clear all along: Trump lost, and the effort was a con.
Ten Republican fake electors from Wisconsin agreed per the terms of a civil settlement not to serve as presidential electors in next year’s election and to withdraw the elector certificates they submitted.
Two electors representing Joe Biden filed the lawsuit last year in Dane County, Wisconsin, accusing the electors and two attorneys who worked on Trump’s effort to reverse his loss of conspiracy to defraud voters.
Per the settlement, the ten fake electors made the following statement:
“We hereby reaffirm that Joseph R. Biden, Jr. won the 2020 presidential election and that
we were not the duly elected presidential electors for the State of Wisconsin for the 2020
presidential election,” the admission reads. “We oppose any attempt to undermine the public’s faith in the ultimate results of the 2020 presidential election.”
Those two attorneys, Ken Chesebro and Jim Troupis, have not settled the lawsuit and are continuing as defendants. Chesebro pleaded guilty to one count in the Fulton County, Georgia RICO case over his role in the fake electors scheme and is cooperating with prosecutors in two other states.
The admission by the fake electors is yet another marker of the depths of bad faith to which many Republican officials dropped in the effort to help Trump stay in office despite having lost the election. It was clear at the time that Trump had lost the election, in spite of the scattershot claims of voter fraud which the former president made in his bid to hold onto power.
Much of what Trump and those who supported his 2020 coup attempt relied on in their effort to contest his loss and dodge accountability since is the idea that there was a legitimate dispute over the election result. The fake electors played a key role both in keeping alive the myth of a dispute and in using that idea to justify their own existence. In the telling of Trump campaign attorneys, so long as there was a lawsuit in the state, all the fake electors were doing was “preserving” the former president’s legal options should he prevail in any of the groundless lawsuits he filed.
Now, the fake electors themselves have effectively admitted that the whole thing was a sham.
Law Forward, the Wisconsin good government nonprofit which brought the suit on behalf of two legitimate lectors, provided TPM with a copy of the settlement agreement, which includes messages and other records from the fake electors.
Text messages released in the settlement agreement show how the fake electors admitted at one point that the plan was fundamentally deceptive. On Jan. 4, one elector complained that “freaking Trump idiots want someone to fly original elector papers to the senate President.” Darryl Carlson, another elector, texted before the fake votes were cast that “They don’t want to have a technicality mess up the possible steal.”
At another point, emails show the group working with Trump attorneys to ensure that the effort retained a veneer of legitimacy. At one point, current GOP Wisconsin Chair Brian Schimming said that the group needed to hold back issuing a press release until an appeal had been filed, keeping an underlying election dispute alive. Having that appeal would be the only way to keep arguing that there was any real dispute at all to justify the whole endeavor.