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Fake Trump Electors in Wisconsin Accept Biden’s 2020 Win in Settlement

Fake Trump Electors in Wisconsin Accept Biden’s 2020 Win in Settlement


A group of 10 bogus Republican electors who tried to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election accepted as part of a lawsuit settlement on Wednesday that former President Donald J. Trump lost the election.

The settlement was the first of its kind involving rogue actors in battleground states who, promoting conspiracy theories about election fraud out of loyalty to Mr. Trump, had filed paperwork claiming that he had won the election. It came on the same day that Nevada’s attorney general, Aaron D. Ford, a Democrat, announced that six people had been charged in connection with a similar scheme in that swing state in 2020.

The defendants in the Wisconsin case, who were part of a slate of Mr. Trump’s allies, agreed that they would not serve as Electoral College delegates during the 2024 presidential race or in any other election in which the former president is on the ballot.

The settlement was reached about 18 months after two Democrats who served as Wisconsin electors in the 2020 election sued the 10 Republicans for their efforts to subvert the outcome. The settlement was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

The case overlapped with continuing prosecutions in Michigan and Georgia of several of Mr. Trump’s loyalists who masqueraded as legitimate presidential electors in those battleground states, which, like Nevada, Mr. Biden carried in 2020.

Khary Penebaker, a plaintiff in the Wisconsin case and a former Democratic National Committee member, said in an interview on Wednesday that he hoped the civil and criminal cases would deter future election interference.

“They admitted this was a fraudulent scheme,” he said of the defendants, adding, “It’s something that’s beyond un-American.”

In a text message exchange obtained by Law Forward, a progressive law firm that represented the plaintiffs, one of the fake electors said that the orchestrators of the scheme did not want a technicality to “mess up the possible steal.”

Mr. Penebaker, who was an Electoral College delegate in the 2020 election, said it was a pure joy to have taken part, as a Black man, in cementing the electoral victory of Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of color to hold that office.

“The fact that these folks can never have that kind of moment is kind of the punishment that they ultimately deserve,” he said.

Andrew Hitt, a lawyer from Appleton, Wis., who was the chairman of the state’s Republican Party during the 2020 election and a defendant in the case, said in an email on Wednesday that he regretted his association with the fake electors plot.

“The Wisconsin electors were tricked and misled into participating in what became the alternate elector scheme,” he said, “and would have never taken any actions had we known that there were ulterior reasons beyond preserving an ongoing legal strategy.”

Mr. Hitt, who was a deputy legal counsel in the administration of former Gov. Scott Walker, said he was cooperating with the Department of Justice, which has charged Mr. Trump in a federal election subversion case.

“I will not be supporting Trump in 2024,” Mr. Hitt said. “We have serious problems facing this country, and we need a president who will not repeat 2020 and will focus on tackling those difficult issues.”

A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

None of the other defendants in the case responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

The settlement did not impose fines on the defendants. The lawsuit had sought up to $200,000 in damages for the Democratic electors.

Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.



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