After a judge found that far-right political agitators Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman executed an illegal conspiracy targeting groups of Black potential voters before the 2020 election, the two will now go on trial for the consideration of a level of (seemingly financial) damages to impose. The trial has been scheduled for early August, starting on August 7.
Wohl and Burkman, who also had organizations in which they’re in control named in underlying litigation, rolled out automated calls that provided blatantly deceptive information to possible voters about mail-in balloting, which could have intimidated these individuals from casting ballots — intimidation that, it seems, would have been the entire point. Although Joe Biden led Trump nationally by millions and millions of votes in the results from 2020, that’s not why he’s president. In individual states like Michigan and Arizona, Biden eked out victories — and the margins were close in key locales.
The robocalls raised a BS threat with listeners of identifying details associated with mail-in voting later being used for credit card debts and the execution of lingering warrants, besides the claimed possibility of the data’s usage in mandatory vaccine operations. At the social level, no such requirements have materialized, although private organizations like certain employers may mandate the shot, and vaccines may also be required in association with some government employment, although military requirements were undone. (In this context, it’s almost entirely COVID-19 vaccines under consideration.)
Wohl and Burkman were found to have violated the Voting Rights Act, the Ku Klux Klan Act, and the Civil Rights Act, in addition to state regulations in New York. Litigation over the calls originating with Wohl and Burkman apparently traces back to late 2020, shortly before Election Day. After its filing, the office of the New York state Attorney General joined the proceedings, further arguing against the extremists.
As highlighted by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, the judge previously found Wohl and Burkman conducted what “was a calculated attempt to deter Black voters by exploiting fears and stereotypes, and not merely the expression of an opinion.” Their other actions in the rhetorical spotlight have included the propagation of false claims of sexual misconduct implicating prominent political opponents of theirs. The two already pleaded guilty to fraud allegations in Ohio connected to the same deceptive calls, and there, they were sentenced to probation, GPS monitoring, and fines, in addition to community service work in the form of hundreds of hours of voter registration.
UPDATE: The jury trial has been scheduled for one week beginning on August 7. https://t.co/MJ7y5HwGED
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) April 21, 2023