Men who targeted Black voters with robocalls ordered to register voters in low-income areas
Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl gained notoriety for several failed attempts to frame opponents of former President Donald Trump for sexual misconduct and other crimes.
Right-wing provocateurs who made robocalls to Black voters will pay for their crimes by registering residents of low-income areas to vote.
According to NBC News, Jacob Wohl of Irvine, California and Jack Burkman of Arlington, Virginia, were sentenced to 500 hours of community service registering voters on Tuesday following their guilty pleas to telecom fraud in connection with robocalls made before the 2020 election.
The two are charged with trying to sway 85,000 voters in metropolitan areas across the nation using autocalls with false information regarding mail-in voting in states including Ohio, Illinois, New York, California and Pennsylvania. They made more than 8,100 calls to residences in Cleveland alone.
Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, said they also received a two-year probationary period and six months of daily 12-hour electronic monitoring.
“These two individuals attempted to disrupt the foundation of our democracy,” County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement, according to NBC. “Their sentence of two years’ probation and 500 hours of community work service at a voter registration drive is appropriate.”
The robocalls, which officials said the men made to thousands of voters in many states before the election, made the untrue assertion that mail-in ballots would register voters in a database used to find warrants, collect unpaid debt, or enforce vaccine requirements.
Wohl and Burkman gave their names on the calls and acknowledged under oath that they made them, but they insisted that they did nothing unlawful and that the calls were an exercise of their right to free speech rather than an attempt to intimidate, threaten, or stifle voting.
They gained notoriety for smear campaigns and several failed attempts to frame opponents of former President Donald Trump — including former special prosecutor Robert Mueller and Democratic presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren — for sexual misconduct and other crimes.
Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, sought $2.7 million in fines last year for robocalls she claimed tried to discourage Black voters ahead of the 2020 election.
James claimed Wohl and Burkman attempted to affect the election in favor of their desired presidential candidate by using falsehoods to disenfranchise Black communities, theGrio previously reported.
“No voter should ever be subjected to such harassment or intimidation when exercising their fundamental right to vote,” James said, according to theGrio. “I will continue the work to protect voters and ensure that anyone who tries to hinder that right is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
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