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Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls

Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls
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Conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been indicted in Ohio for allegedly using robocalls in an attempt to intimidate minority voters, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley (D) announced Tuesday.

Wohl, 22, and Burkman, 54, were each charged with eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery for allegedly devising a robocall scam that attempted to suppress voting in local minority neighborhoods by intimidating residents out of voting by mail.

O’Malley’s office said that the men used a voice broadcasting service to place over 67,000 calls across multiple states in the Midwest. Of those calls, more than 8,100 were sent to phone numbers in Cleveland and East Cleveland, heavily Democratic areas of the state.

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The messages falsely warned voters that if they voted by mail, their information could be used to pursue old warrants, collect outstanding debts and track people for mandatory vaccines, the prosecutor’s office said.

Arrest warrants were issued for Wohl and Burkman upon indictment, and they will be arraigned in Cuyahoga County at a later date, the prosector's office said. Wohl is a resident of Los Angeles while Burkman resides in Arlington, Va. Both face up to 18.5 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

“These individuals clearly infringed upon that right in a blatant attempt to suppress votes and undermine the integrity of this election,” O’Malley said in a statement shared with The Hill. “Do not let these individuals or others like them to succeed. Exercise your right and get out and VOTE!”

The Hill has reached out to the pair for comment.

Wohl and Burkman were charged earlier this month in Michigan for allegedly attempting to suppress minority voters there with robocalls.

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They were charged with one count each of voter intimidation, conspiracy to commit an election law violation, using a computer to intimidate voters and using a computer to commit conspiracy.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said the two targeted voters in heavily Democratic suburban areas like Detroit with robocalls aimed at dissuading residents from voting in the Nov. 3 election. Her office said at the time that the attorneys general of Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York had reported similar robocalls aimed at minority voters.

Wohl and Burkman have previously promoted a number of baseless conspiracy theories or manufactured allegations against figures such as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (D-Mass.), former Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Buttigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm MORE and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE, among others.