Right-wing fraudsters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman get criminally charged in election conspiracy​

Right-wing fraudsters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman get criminally charged in election conspiracy​

Jacob Wohl

Right-wing smear artists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman will face four counts in an alleged criminal scheme to influence the 2020 election after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed charges on Thursday.

Nessel accused the pair of intimidating voters, conspiring to break election law, using a computer to commit an election crime, and using a computer to carry out a conspiracy.

The charges center on a robocall scheme the Nessel said was an attempt to "discourage voters from participating in the general election." According to the press release, the scheme targeted urban areas, including Detroit, and was focused on "areas with significant minority populations."

Wohl previously denied to CNN that he or Burkman were involved in any robocall schemes.

"It's believed around 85,000 calls were made nationally, though an exact breakdown of the numbers of calls to each city or state are not available," according to Nessel's office. Similar robocalls reportedly were made in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, the last two of which are swing states in the presidential election.

The robocall allegedly attempted to make voters afraid to cast their ballots, telling them to not be "finessed into giving your private information to the man" and that they should "beware of vote by mail." The press release explained:

The caller, who claims to be associated with an organization founded by Burkman and Wohl, falsely tells people that mail-in voting, in particular, will allow personal information to become part of a special database used by police to track down old warrants and by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts. The caller also deceptively claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the information to track people for mandatory vaccines. However, none of that is true.

"This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election," said Nessel. "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."

Burkman and Wohl have made themselves notorious with a series of stunts that included trying to smear former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg with bogus and sexual assault allegations.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.