New York Attorney General Letitia James wants two right-wing provocateurs to pay up to $2.7 million in penalties for thousands of robocalls allegedly aimed at suppressing the Black vote ahead of the 2020 election.
James said Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman “used misinformation to try to disenfranchise Black communities ahead of the election, in a clear attempt to sway the election in the favor of their preferred presidential candidate.”
Wohl and Burkman, conservative political operatives known for smearing political opponents with transparently false accusations, are already facing criminal charges in Michigan and Ohio for the scheme. The pair are accused of trying to influence 85,000 voters in urban areas across the country with the August 2020 robocalls, which were loaded with misinformation about mail-in voting.
The speaker on the call identified herself “Tamika Taylor of Project 1599,” and falsely claimed that voting by mail would result in voters “having their personal information used by the police to track old warrants, credit card companies to collect debts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track individuals for mandatory vaccines,” James’ office said.
“Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man. Stay home safe and beware of vote by mail,” the call concluded — which would appear to tell people not to vote at all.
Wohl and Burkman have acknowledged in court that they were responsible for the calls, but deny that they did anything illegal. The pair insist the call was an exercise of free speech rights and not designed to intimidate, threaten or suppress voting.
James’ office said the two men knew what they were doing and who they were targeting.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Dareh Gregorian