Attorney Jim Troupis has asked a judge to disqualify the law firm suing him and Republicans who signed documents attempting to hand over Wisconsin Electoral College votes to Donald Trump – alleging he has a attorney-client relationship with the firm as part of a succession plan.
The lawsuit was filed in May and alleges the 10 Republicans violated multiple criminal and civil laws when they met at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign official-looking documents claiming Trump had won the presidential election. ‘State. The lawsuit also names Troupis, a Republican-appointed former Dane County judge who represented Trump in an unsuccessful effort to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, and Boston-area attorney Kenneth Chesebro — who has advised the Republicans.
Troupis’ attorneys note in a court filing Wednesday that he and his wife retained the services of the law firm Stafford Rosenbaum in late 2019 and had worked with attorney Johanna Allex to develop and prepare an estate plan. , which involved providing the “intensely private and confidential law firm with questions and information about their family, assets and finances.”
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Although the estate plan has not been finalized, Troupis considers himself a client of Stafford Rosenbaum. Lawyers for the firm earlier this year “filed a long and high-profile lawsuit accusing Troupis of engaging in a civil conspiracy, which in turn invoked multiple federal and criminal statutes,” Troupis’ lawyers wrote.
“Feeling betrayed, ambushed and embarrassed by Stafford, his attorney of choice, Troupis requests that Stafford be disqualified from representing plaintiffs in this litigation,” his attorneys added.
Stafford Rosenbaum attorney Jeffrey Mandell, who brought the case against Troupis, Chesebro and the 10 Republicans, said Allex was not a litigant and was not involved in the lawsuit.
“We are confident that we have met all of our ethical obligations, all of our responsibilities to our customers, we take these things very seriously,” Mandell said.
“They don’t want to answer for their actual conduct, so they want to fight over a minor technicality that doesn’t even apply here,” he added.
Troupis argues that the financial information provided to the law firm as part of the preparation of an estate plan is relevant to the lawsuit, as it seeks punitive damages from the defendants.
The lawsuit seeks more than $2.4 million in damages, including $2,000 in fines for the Republicans and their attorneys, and up to $200,000 in punitive damages for each plaintiff. He alleges that the Republicans and their lawyers violated several laws, including forging public documents, unlawfully interfering with official proceedings, defrauding the public and conspiracy.
The lawsuit alleges that in doing so, the individuals played a role in the January 6, 2021, uprising at the United States Capitol.
But before a judge rules on Troupis’ motion to disqualify Stafford Rosenbaum, the first question is which court will hear the case. Defendants in the case have asked that it be taken to the U.S. District Court regarding the presidential election, but Mandell argues the case is a matter of state and the suit should remain in court of Dane County Circuit, where she was dropped off.
“The fundamental claims in this case, civil conspiracy, public nuisance…these are all creatures of state law and this case, ultimately, will be decided by state law and therefore not within the scope of the limited jurisdiction of the federal court,” Mandel said.
The Republicans’ meeting came on the advice of attorneys with close ties to Trump. Documents pointed to efforts by members of Trump’s inner circle to circumvent the Electoral College process in several states, including Wisconsin, after the 2020 election, despite recounts and court rulings claiming Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in the battleground state by nearly 21,000 votes.
Republicans said the meeting was aimed at preserving their legal options amid litigation surrounding the election.
The meeting took place on the same day as Wisconsin’s Democratic electoral slate met in the Capitol building to deliver the state’s 10 electoral votes to President-elect Biden. It also came after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Biden had won the election and a month after Wisconsin county clerks polled the presidential election results.
Texts released last month by the U.S. House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, uprising revealed that Troupis tried to get U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, to hand over documents falsely stating that Trump won Wisconsin from then-Vice President Mike Pence on January 1. 6. Pence refused to accept the scheme.
The lawsuit follows a March decision by Wisconsin’s bipartisan Elections Commission to unanimously dismiss a lawsuit filed by Mandell that sought sanctions against the 10 Republicans, including Republican Commissioner Robert Spindell, who signed the filings. official appearance.
Others to sign the documents in Wisconsin include former state Republican Party chairman Andrew Hitt; Kelly Ruh, GOP chairwoman for the 8th congressional district; Carol Brunner, GOP Vice Chair for the 1st Congressional District; Dane County Republican Party Chairman Scott Grabins; La Crosse County Republican Party Chairman Bill Feehan; Kathy Kiernan, GOP Chair of the 5th Congressional District; Darryl Carlson, GOP Chairman of the 6th Congressional District; Pam Travis, GOP Vice Chair for the 1st Congressional District; and Mary Buestrin, Vice President of the Midwest Region for the Republican National Committee.
Hitt and Ruh were subpoenaed earlier this year by the US House committee investigating the attempted insurrection at the US Capitol.
The state’s Republican Party did not respond to questions about whether any of the voters or other party members had been subpoenaed in connection with other investigations into the events leading up to to the attempted insurrection of January 6, 2021.
Photos: Voters voted across Madison