Far-right operatives agree to pay $1.2 million for 2020 robocall campaign that attempted to suppress black vote

Two far-right activists agreed to pay up to $1.2 million to New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office for a robocall campaign in 2020 that sought to suppress the state’s black vote.

James said Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have agreed to pay the funds, which are drastically lower than a federal $5.1 million charge for making similar calls in other states. 

“Wohl and Burkman orchestrated a depraved and disinformation-ridden campaign to intimidate Black voters in an attempt to sway the election in favor of their preferred candidate. Now they will pay up to $1.25 million,” James said in a statement announcing the agreement on Tuesday. She called the pair “conspiracy theorists” who “intimidated” black voters with “threatening” robocalls.

FILE – In this image taken from video provided by the 36th District Court in Michigan, Jacob Wohl, left, and Jack Burkman appear during their arraignment via video, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 in Detroit. (36th District Court via AP, File)

James filed the suit against Wohl and Burkman in 2021, accusing the pair of orchestrating 5,000 robocalls in August 2020 that contained misinformation about voting in New York. The calls included claims that voting by mail would give the government and law enforcement access to personal information that would be used illegally.

“Voting by mail would result in voters having their personal information used by the police to track old warrants, credit card companies to collect debts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track individuals for mandatory vaccines,” the speaker on the call said, according to a transcript obtained by NBC News. “Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man. Stay home safe and beware of vote by mail.”

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The new agreement will still need to be approved by a judge, but it comes a year after U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero found Wohl and Burkman liable for violating state civil rights laws and the federal Ku Klux Klan Act with the calls.

The duo have already pleaded guilty to similar charges in Ohio, where they were sentenced to two years of probation and 500 hours of registering voters.

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