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Right-wing agents sentenced to 500 hours of voter registration for 2020 election robocall program

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Two right-wing provocateurs were sentenced on Tuesday to spend 500 hours registering voters after pleading guilty to telecommunications fraud in connection with robocalls made ahead of the 2020 election.

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were also sentenced to two years probation and 12 hours a day of electronic monitoring for six months, according to prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

“These two individuals attempted to disrupt the foundations of our democracy,” County Attorney Michael O’Malley said in a statement. “Their sentence of two years probation and 500 hours of community service during a voter registration drive is appropriate.”

Wohl and Burkman were charged with telecommunications fraud and bribery, accused of attempting to intimidate voters with fake robocalls regarding mail-in voting. The robocalls, which officials say went to thousands of voters in several states ahead of the election, falsely claimed that mail-in voting would put voters on a database that would be used to collect unpaid debts. , find mandates or apply compulsory vaccinations.

Burkman, of Arlington, Va., and Wohl, of Irvine, Calif., were charged with trying to influence 85,000 voters in urban areas nationwide with the robocalls, which included misinformation about the postal voting, in Ohio, Illinois, New York, California, Pennsylvania and other states. Prosecutors said more than 8,100 robocalls went to phone numbers for residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland alone.

Wohl and Burkman identified themselves on the calls and admitted under oath that they created them, but denied doing anything illegal, insisting the calls were an exercise of the right to privacy. freedom of expression and not designed to intimidate, threaten or suppress voting.

Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James sought $2.7 million in penalties for robocalls allegedly aimed at suppressing black voting ahead of the 2020 election. James at the time said that Wohl and Burkman “used misinformation to attempt to disenfranchise black communities ahead of the election, in a clear attempt to sway the election in favor of their preferred presidential candidate.” A settlement was announced this year. The Federal Communications Commission also proposed a fine of $5.1 million.

Burkman and Wohl drew attention to several failed schemes to attack opponents of former President Donald Trump with false accusations of sexual misconduct and other criminal activity. Some of their failed smear campaigns targeted Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, as well as former special counsel Robert Mueller.

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