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Former Milwaukee elections official Kimberly Zapata found guilty of faking military absentee ballots

Kimberly Zapata will be sentenced on May 2.
MJS-Kimberly Zapata
Posted at 12:14 PM, Mar 20, 2024

Former Milwaukee elections official Kimberly Zapata, accused of faking military absentee ballots, was found guilty in court on Wednesday, March 20.

Zapata was accused of sending fake military absentee ballots to a republican lawmaker in 2022.

Zapata waived her right to testify in the case on Tuesday, March 19.

Kimberly Zapata was criminally charged with misconduct in public office and three counts of making false statements to obtain absentee ballots. She was accused of sending fake military absentee ballots to GOP lawmaker Janel Brandtjen, the Menomonee Falls Republican who allegedly promoted overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin.

The state called four witnesses on Tuesday including Claire Woodall, executive director of Milwaukee's Election Commission, who testified against her former coworker.

Defense attorney Dan Adams pointed out that Zapata was under pressure from security concerns and managing election logistics soon after her brother's sudden death.

Prosecutor Matthew Westphal played an audio recording in which Zapata told investigators said wanted the truth to come out. She was fed up as as her office dealt with threats, conspiracy theories, and harassment which prompted increased security changes.

Zapata said she picked Representative Janel Brandtjen because she was vocal about elections. Zapata thought it would redirect messaging rooted in conspiracy theories toward a real vulnerability, in this case, restrictions to request military absentee ballots.

Zapata will be sentenced on May 2.