NPR : News

Filed Under:

Maryland Robocall Conviction Puts Political Dirty Tricksters On Notice

Election-day dirty tricksters be forewarned: getting caught trying in a voter-suppression scheme can draw you a prison term, at least in Maryland.

That's one take away message from Tuesday's conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.

A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.

As NPR's Pam Fessler reported on All Things Considered Monday, the calls made on the afternoon of Election Day last year to black voters essentially suggested there was no need for them to vote since the Democratic Gov, Martin O'Malley was so far ahead he had essentially already won the race.

As Pam reported for the NPR newscast:

"The calls were made in areas with large concentrations of African American voters. Schurick says he was hoping to spur potential Ehrlich voters to come to the polls. His attorney says he's planning to appeal on First Amendment grounds, arguing that the calls are protected free speech."

The trial jury didn't buy the defense lawyers' First Amendment theory of the case. Nor did they accept the notion that Schurick was actually trying to get black voters to come out to vote for his Republican boss.

An excerpt from Luke Broadwater's Baltimore Sun report:

"Jurors said they didn't accept arguments that the call was protected free speech.

" 'Your free speech does have certain limits,' said Niomi Rosenberg, juror No. 3. 'Confusion to suppress votes is a very big problem.' "

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

No Longer Omar: Actor Michael K. Williams On Lucky Breaks And Letting Go

Over the course of his career, Williams says he's learned to separate himself from his characters (like The Wire's Omar). In HBO's The Night Of, he plays a powerful prison inmate named Freddy.
NPR

#FoodPorn, Circa 1600s: Then And Now, It Was More About Status Than Appetite

A new study of old masters finds that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Like today's Instagrammers, it was all about projecting an image.
NPR

Michelle Obama: From Reluctant Political Spouse To Pop Culture Icon

The first lady speaks at the Democratic Convention Monday night for the third time. Her popular image is a transformation from how she was first introduced to the country eight years ago.
NPR

The Big Internet Brands Of The '90s — Where Are They Now?

Verizon's purchase of Yahoo will close the book on one of the oldest Internet companies. What happened to the other famous 90s brands, like GeoCities, Netscape and CompuServe? A nerdy remembrance.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.