Conservative activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman face fines up to $2.75m over 2020 election robocalls the New York attorney general alleges were made to "disenfranchise Black communities".
Letitia James on Thursday filed a motion to intervene in an existing federal lawsuit over the calls to about 5,500 New Yorkers, seeking a penalty of up to $500 for each violation, or $2.75m in total.
“In this country, our vote is our voice – it is one of the most important parts of our democracy. Any attempt to discourage communities from voting is as illegal as it is un-American,” Ms James said in a statement.
“Wohl and Burkman used misinformation to try to disenfranchise Black communities ahead of the election, in a clear attempt to sway the election in the favor of their preferred presidential candidate. No voter should ever be subjected to such harassment or intimidation when exercising their fundamental right to vote."
According to the attorney general’s office, the robocalls in the summer of 2020 violated state and federal laws by claiming that mail-in voters would have personal information disseminated to law enforcement, debt collectors, and the government.
A text of the recording released by the attorney general said:
“Hi, this is Tamika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burman and Jacob Wohl. 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 home safe and beware of vote by mail.”
Manhattan Federal Judge Victor Marrero ordered the pair to send follow-up calls in October before the presidential election took place.
Mr Wohl and Mr Burkman’s attorney, David Schwartz, said they would fight the case in court and they look forward to challenging the fictional claims, according to the NY Daily News.
"This case is nothing more than a furtherance of the cancel culture movement and that only people holding a certain opinion have a right to be heard,” he said.
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