Federal Judge Rules Right Wing Operatives Jacob Wohl and Partner Violated Voting Rights Act By Misleading Black Voters

Jacob Wohl gives interview March 2 at CPAC 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland

Francis Chung/Politico via AP Images

A New York federal judge ruled this week that two right-wing activists violated the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act with a robocall scheme intended to deter Black voters during the 2020 presidential election.

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman pleaded guilty in October to telecommunications fraud by placing calls with financial and legal threats to majority-Black neighborhood voters, MSNBC reports.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero stated the targeting of Black voters by the defendants was evident and apparent.

According to the ruling (PDF), “The evidence establishes that the neighborhoods that Defendants targeted were not accidental or random.”

Marrero’s ruling added that the robocall scripts Wohl and Burkman used “contained racially coded language, and that the operatives acted with the specific intent to deter “Black, Democratic voters – – from voting in the 2020 Election.”

“The Court is hard-pressed to find an alternative theory as to why they [Wohl and Burkman] did so besides to deny the right to vote specifically to Black voters, and a reasonable jury likewise would not be able to find otherwise,” said the judge in ruling for the plaintiffs, including the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

On Wednesday, Damon Hewitt, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, said that he applauds “the court’s recognition that these robocalls were an illegal and discriminatory voter suppression tactic that targeted Black voters.”

Editor’s note: A format error in the final paragraph has been corrected to properly display the closing quote.

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