Wohl, Burkman Indicted For Alleged Scheme To Intimidate Minority Voters

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October 27, 2020 3:41 p.m.

Rightwing troll duo Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been indicted in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, for an alleged scheme to place robocalls that discourage minority communities from voting by mail. 

The two were indicted on eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery. In Ohio, “bribery” covers attempts to intimidate or coerce a person not to vote.

A recording of the call, provided to TPM by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office, matched a call that the two were indicted for allegedly placing in Michigan.

“Hi, this is Tomika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl,” a woman says on the robocall. “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 from mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines,” she adds. “Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man. Stay safe and beware of vote by mail.”

O’Malley’s office alleges that the duo placed 67,000 calls across midwestern states; 8,100, prosecutors say, were placed to phone numbers in Cleveland and East Cleveland, both of which are in Cuyahoga County. The Ohio Attorney General’s office got involved after receiving multiple complaints and referred the case to the county prosecutor. 

Arrest warrants have been issued for Wohl and Burkman, O’Malley’s office said. 

“The right to vote is the most fundamental component of our nation’s democracy,” O’Malley said in a statement. “These individuals clearly infringed upon that right in a blatant attempt to suppress votes and undermine the integrity of this election. These actions will not be tolerated.”

The Cuyahoga County indictment is just the latest legal trouble for the pair, who have already been charged in Michigan for promulgation of the same robocall. The Michigan Attorney general said earlier this month that similar calls had been reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.

For the Michigan arraignment, the buffoonish duo brought a film crew and fistfuls of $100 bills to brandish as they turned themselves in. They claim that they were not behind the calls, though a prosecutor said earlier this month that he had records from the robocall delivery company and evidence from witness testimony that Burkman sent it out. 

Individuals who received the calls in New York have also filed a civil suit against the two. 

On top of their robocall chicanery, Wohl is contending with felony charges in California over alleged violations of securities laws, and the two are being investigated by the FBI over a leak of jury questionnaires during Roger Stone’s trial.

The two have made a name for themselves by comically bungling half-baked attempts to go after Trump’s enemies. Back in 2018, they set up and hyped a press conference for a supposed victim of sexual assault by Robert Mueller to come forward with her accusations. The woman in question never showed up, and Burkman and Wohl couldn’t even agree on the spelling of her name. 

The dynamic duo have also concocted accusations against Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), which fell apart upon the slightest investigation.

Recently, Burkman also staged a fake FBI raid on his own home. The “agent” later said he was an actor who was hired on Craigslist.

Read the Cuyahoga County indictment here:

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