Aides To Former Maryland Gov Indicted For Ordering Calls To Suppress Votes

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June 17, 2011 6:12 a.m.
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Two aides to former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) have been indicted for ordering what officials claim were deceptive robocalls intended to suppress Democratic turnout during Ehrlich’s second run for the office last November.Voters in Maryland started getting mysterious phone calls on election day last year, that told them to “relax” and not bother going to the polls because President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O’Malley “have been successful.”

“Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch on TV tonight,” the robocalls said.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Julius Henson and Paul Schurick each face three counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter’s decision and one count of failing to provide an authority line (on campaign material). Schurick also is charged with one count of obstruction of justice.

Henson, who has a long history of dirty political tricks, has admitted he was involved in the calls, but his lawyer has argued in a civil case that the calls were protected free speech.

Schurick, Ehrlich’s communications director when he was governor and a top campaign aide during his return campaign, allegedly created “The Schurick Doctrine” which was “designed to promote confusion, emotionalism, and frustration among African-American Democrats.”

“The first and foremost desired outcome [of the Schurick Doctrine strategy] is voter suppression,” the document said, the Sun reported.

The indictment is available here.

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