After already having been indicted in Michigan for a robocall scheme to intimidate urban-area voters with misinformation, the fabulously inept duo of Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have now been indicted in Cuyahoga County for the same scheme.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's office referred the case to local prosecutors.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was among those who noted after the Michigan case was unveiled that similar calls had been reported in Cleveland.
Wohl and Burkman face eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery and a possible 18 years in prison. (Bribery in this context refers to 3599.01(A)(2) in the Ohio Revised Code: “Attempt by intimidation, coercion, or other unlawful means to induce such delegate or elector to register or refrain from registering or to vote or refrain from voting at a primary, convention, or election for a particular person, question, or issue.")
The calls, one of which you can listen to below, said “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 for credit card companies to collect outstanding debts. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is even pushing to… track people for mandatory vaccines.”
Similar robocalls were made in areas with “significant minority populations” in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said earlier this month.
In all, the duo made more than 65,000 robocalls. Cuyahoga County prosecutors say at least 10% of those were targeted to Cleveland and East Cleveland.
“The right to vote is the most fundamental component of our nation’s democracy. 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. Anyone who interferes with others’ right to vote must be held accountable,” Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement. “I commend Attorney General Dave Yost and his staff for their diligent work on this investigation. We urge all citizens to get out and vote. Do not let these individuals or others like them succeed. Exercise your right and get out and VOTE!”
Wohl and Burkman have been removed from social media sites for making bogus claims, including manufacturing sexual-assault allegations against former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and special counsel Robert Mueller. They also falsely claimed Elizabeth Warren had a sexual relationship with an ex-Marine male escort.
Arrest warrants have been issued. The pair will appear at a later court date.