Liberals seek ouster from Wisconsin judicial ethics panel of Trump lawyer who advised fake electors

Dec 14, 2023, 10:01 PM

FILE - Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis speaks during a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental ...

FILE - Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis speaks during a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process, Dec. 16, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Liberals are calling for former President Donald Trump's Wisconsin lawyer Troupis to step down from a state judicial ethics panel, saying he's unsuitable due to his role advising the fake Republican electors who admitted to contributing to an effort to overturn the 2020 election. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Liberals are calling for former President Donald Trump’s Wisconsin lawyer to step down from a state judicial ethics panel, saying he is unsuitable due to his role advising the fake Republican electors who admitted to taking part in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Jim Troupis, a former judge, was deeply involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 election results. He remains a defendant in a lawsuit filed against him, Trump’s attorney Ken Chesebro and the 10 fake Republican electors.

The electors agreed to a settlement in the lawsuit, but Troupis and Chesebro remain defendants.

Troupis has been a member of the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee since 2020. The committee is charged with giving formal opinions and informal advice to judges and judicial officers related to the code of judicial conduct. The advice involves whether possible actions would be in compliance with the state’s judicial code of conduct.

The committee rarely issues formal written opinions and has not issued one since 2019, according to its website.

Troupis’s place on the panel advising judges about possible ethical violations is improper given his involvement with the fake elector scheme, said Mike Browne, deputy director of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now.

“He never should have been reappointed after his role in the MAGA conspiracy to undermine our freedom was public,” Browne said in a statement, referring to the Trump campaign slogan “Make America great again.”

“And he certainly shouldn’t continue to serve in any position of public trust now. If he doesn’t have the decency to step down on his own, the right-wing justices who wrongly supported his re-appointment should step in and remove him,” Browne said.

Calls for Troupis to be replaced on the judicial commission echo those from Democrats who want one of the fake electors, Bob Spindell, to be removed from the bipartisan state elections commission. But the Republican Senate majority leader who appointed Spindell has refused to rescind the appointment.

Troupis was reappointed to serve on the judicial ethics panel in March by four conservative members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including three who remain on the court.

Neither Troupis nor the justices who appointed him — Chief Justice Annette Ziegler and justices Rebecca Bradley and Brian Hagedorn — replied to messages seeking comment.

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Bryan Keberlein, who chairs the judicial advisory committee, was not available for comment.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020. Trump’s campaign tried to overturn the results by arguing, in lawsuits filed by Troupis, that tens of thousands of absentee ballots legally cast should not have counted. The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the Trump lawsuit on a 4-3 ruling, upholding Biden’s win.

In addition to the lawsuits, Troupis also was involved with the fake elector scheme in Wisconsin.

Fake electors in Wisconsin and six other battleground states sent certificates to Congress falsely declaring Trump the winner of the 2020 presidential election, despite confirmed results showing he had lost.

The scheme began in Wisconsin, according to prosecutors who brought a four-count indictment released against Trump in August.

Chesebro wrote in a Dec. 13, 2020, email that the strategy “was not to use the fraudulent electors only in the circumstance that the Defendant’s litigation was successful in one of the targeted states.” Instead, he wrote, “the plan was to falsely present the fraudulent slates as an alternative to the legitimate slates at Congress’s certification proceeding.”

The Georgia indictment of Trump refers to Chesebro’s memo to Troupis as an “overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

After Wisconsin’s fake electors met on Dec. 14, 2020, Troupis contacted U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s staff and asked that Johnson deliver the documents from the fake electors in Wisconsin and Michigan to Vice President Mike Pence. A Pence staff member refused to accept them.

On Dec. 6, Nevada became the third state to charge electors, following Michigan and Georgia. Wisconsin Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has repeatedly refused to say whether there is an ongoing criminal investigation related to the state’s fake electors, Troupis and Chesebro.

In the recent legal settlement, the 10 fake electors admitted Biden had won the election and their efforts were part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 results. Under the deal, the fake electors didn’t pay any damages or attorneys fees, or admit wrongdoing or liability.

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Liberals seek ouster from Wisconsin judicial ethics panel of Trump lawyer who advised fake electors