Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday charged conservative conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman with felony voter intimidation and election crimes, The Washington Post reports.
Wohl and Burkman are both charged with four felonies of intimidating voters, conspiring to violate election law, and using a computer to commit a crime, Nessel said.
The charges came after the duo allegedly targeted voters in five states with a robocall discouraging absentee voting amid the pandemic.
Each of the charges carries five to seven years in prison with a maximum combined sentence of 12 years.
Wohl and Burkman, who live in other states, are yet to be arraigned.
Nessel’s office said it is “too early to say if formal extradition will be necessary or if they will present themselves here voluntarily in the very near future.”
Operation targeted Detroit:
Attorneys general in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois said they reported similar robocalls.
Nessel’s charges stem from those aimed at nearly 12,000 residents in the Detroit area.
Nessel estimated that the operation placed about 85,000 robocalls across the country.
The caller, who claims to work for a civil rights group founded by the duo, falsely told votes that personal information on mail ballots can be used to track down warrants, credit card debt, and mandatory vaccinations.
The caller urged voters not to be “finessed into giving your private information to the man.”
Officials say the call exploited “racially-charged stereotypes.”
“Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences,” Nessel said in a statement. “This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election. We’re all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built. Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that.”
Burkman and Wohl go silent:
The duo has not commented on the report.
When the news of the calls first broke in August, the pair denied that they were involved and blamed “leftist pranksters.”
But the phone number listed on the call was allegedly Burkman’s cell number.
“No one in their right mind would give out their [cell] number on a robo [call],” Burkman claimed in August.
The pair previously staged false sexual assault allegations against special counsel Bob Mueller and Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg.