James Tobin, the former GOP official accused of participating in a plot to jam Democratic phone lines in New Hampshire on Election Day 2002, appeared in court
yesterday and pleaded not guilty to new charges related to the episode.
Tobin was earlier convicted of telephone harassment in connection with the scheme, but the conviction was overturned last year, and this year he was acquitted. He never served jail time. Prosecutors had appealed, but recently filed new charges
, alleging Tobin lied to FBI investigators during questioning about the plot.
The case is being heard in federal court in Portland, Maine, Tobin's home state.
Two other people -- the head of the New Hampshire GOP and a Republican consultant -- have served jail time for their roles in the phone jamming.
Phone records released in the case show that Tobin, at the time a New-England-based staffer for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, made two dozen calls to the office of then-White House political director Ken Mehlman within a three-day period around Election Day 2002. Mehlman has said none of the calls involved the phone-jamming incident.
But the Republican National Committee has admitted to paying Tobin's legal bills during that case, totaling nearly $3 million.