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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 WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (D-Mass.), former Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, among others.