Men charged with intimidating Black voters ordered to call back victims, admit messages were false

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were charged in more than one state for allegedly trying to deter Black voters

Loading the player...

Two men are in big trouble for allegedly trying to suppress the Black vote.

Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, were ordered on Wednesday to call back all the recipients of their robocalls whom they spread misinformation to by 5 p.m. on Thursday or they will be in contempt of court. The men are out of jail on a bond of $100,000 according to Metro Times.

They came together to allegedly spread false information to folks in places like Detroit and Ohio to stop them from voting.

Read More: Shaq explains why he never voted before: ‘I didn’t have time’

Jacob Wohl Jack Burkhman black voters thegrio.com
Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were arraigned in 36th District Court. (credit: screenshot/36th District Court)

“Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay safe and beware of vote by mail,” the call said.

They made about 12,000 calls that were false and illegal in Detroit and U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero called it “electoral terror.” 

In the order he wrote, “The means Defendants use to intimidate voters, though born of fear and similarly powered by hate, are not guns, torches, burning crosses, and other dire methods perpetrated under the cover of white hoods,” said Marrero. “Rather, Defendants carry out electoral terror using telephones, computers, and modern technology adapted to serve the same deleterious ends.”

Read More: Lizzo stumps for Biden and Harris in digital ad targeting Michigan’s young voters

They were arraigned at the 36th District Court on October 8 and charged with conspiracy to commit an election law violation, intimidating voters, and using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy and election law.

The Attorney General of Michigan Dana Nessel says the men were clearly trying to deter voters. In a statement, Nessel said, “Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy and all voters should be able to cast their ballot without confusion or fear.”

The pair were also charged in Ohio on Tuesday for supposedly making similar calls in Cleveland and East Cleveland. In addition to that the The National Coalition on Black Civil Participation sued both men under the  Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 claiming they made calls to over 85,000 people in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Marrero ordered the alleged liars to call back victims and say the following:

“At the direction of a United States district court, this call is intended to inform you that a federal court has found that the message you previously received regarding mail-in voting from Project 1599, a political organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, contained false information that has had the effect of intimidating voters, and thus interfering with the upcoming presidential election, in violation of federal voting-rights laws.”

Burkman’s attorney, Scott Grabel told the judge, “The charges are an absolute atrocity” and that “It did not deter voters.”

Assistant Attorney General Richard Cunningham barked back and said, “We have a very strong case.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...

Share