NEW YORK – Defendants in a voter intimidation lawsuit admitted to creating and sending robocalls to 85,000 people that inspired fear about voting by mail during a hearing this morning, but attempted to argue their actions were not illegal. When asked by the judge whether they had the list of all recipients of the call, the defendants stated they did not.
The case, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation v. Wohl, seeks to enforce the Voting Rights Act and Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 against two U.S. citizens who made robocalls to purposefully disenfranchise Black voters with fraudulent messaging. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP filed the motion for a temporary restraining order on Oct. 22, 2020. The plaintiffs, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and eight registered voters in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, allege that the defendants are responsible for a large scale deceptive robocall campaign aimed at suppressing votes from Black Americans, and have conspired to engage in threatening and intimidating conduct.
“Voting is a sacred civic duty and it is despicable for anyone to use lies or threats to scare someone away from the polls,” said David Brody, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “As new technologies connect more people more easily, we must enforce and enhance our civil rights laws to protect against racism and voter suppression at scale.”
Defendants appeared at the hearing without an attorney and have been given 24 hours to obtain an attorney to supplement what was said during today’s hearing. The court did not rule on the request today; a ruling is expected Tuesday.