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Former Trump lawyer in Wisconsin suspended by state judges’ ethics commission

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended former President Donald Trump’s Wisconsin lawyer from a state ethics panel, a week after he was charged with a felony for his role in a 2020 election fraud scheme.

Liberal representatives called for Jim Troupis to resign from the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, arguing that he was unsuitable because of his role as an adviser to Republicans who had sought to cast Wisconsin’s electoral votes for Trump after he lost the state’s 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Troupis, a former judge, Kenneth Chesebro, another Trump lawyer, and former Trump adviser Mike Roman were indicted last week by federal prosecutor Josh Kaul for their roles in the conspiracy to obtain false electors.

Troupis did not respond to a voicemail or text message seeking comment Tuesday.

In its order, the Wisconsin Supreme Court informed Troupis and the legal council that he was “temporarily suspended” from serving on the panel, effective immediately. The court did not provide a reason for the suspension.

Justice Rebecca Bradley, one of the court’s three conservative minority members, did not attend. Bradley was one of four conservative justices on the court who reappointed Troupis to a second term in March 2023. The Liberals currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court.

Troupis has served on the Judiciary Committee since 2020 and was re-elected to a second three-year term 15 months ago. The committee is tasked with providing formal opinions and informal advice to judges and judicial officers on the state’s Code of Conduct for Judges. The advice includes whether potential actions would be consistent with the code.

The committee rarely issues formal written opinions and has not issued any since 2019, according to its website. Informal opinions are issued several times a year, the committee’s chairman, Winnebago County District Judge Bryan Keberlein, said in December.

The calls for Troupis to be replaced on the Judiciary Commission are similar to those of Democrats seeking to remove one of the fraudulent electors, Bob Spindell, from the nonpartisan state Elections Commission. The Republican Senate Majority Leader, who appointed Spindell, refused to rescind the appointment.

The ten fraudulent Wisconsin electors, Troupis and Chesebro, have all reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit filed against them last year.

Troupis said after the settlement that the “alternative ballots” were “a reasonable course of action” because the 2020 results could be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. He said the settlement was made to “avoid endless litigation” and he did not admit wrongdoing.

Documents released as part of these agreements show that Wisconsin’s strategy was also applied in six other swing states.

At Troupis’ urging, Chesebro wrote memos in the final months of 2020 detailing how to create and sign fake ballot certificates. Troupis was also involved in communicating with the White House about the plan.

After the fake Wisconsin electors met on December 14, 2020, Troupis contacted U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s staff and asked Johnson to deliver the documents of the fake Wisconsin and Michigan electors to Vice President Mike Pence. However, a Pence staff member refused to accept them.

Biden won Wisconsin in 2020 by less than 21,000 votes. Trump’s campaign tried to overturn the result, arguing in lawsuits filed by Troupis that tens of thousands of legally cast mail-in ballots should not have been counted. The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed Trump’s lawsuit in a 4-3 decision and affirmed Biden’s victory.