The Detroit Free Press reports:
Two alleged right wing provocateurs accused of orchestrating a racist and inaccurate robocall campaign to dissuade people from voting surrendered to Michigan authorities Thursday morning, the Michigan attorney general announced in a news release.
Jacob Wohl, a 22-year-old Los Angeles resident, and Jack Burkman, a 54-year-old resident of Arlington, Virginia, were arraigned Thursday in the 36th District Court in Detroit. They pleaded not guilty on several felony charges related to allegations of voter intimidation and other election law violations.
The pair have denied involvement in orchestrating the robocalls. Both men are known from various reports to routinely stage fake events and purvey conspiracy theories that help far-right conservative causes and President Donald Trump.
Vice News reports:
Richard Cunningham, the chief of the criminal division of the state attorney general’s office, requested a bond of $1 million, saying that Wohl and Burkman brought a film crew with them as they turned themselves in, and were flashing $100 bills “with the expectation they’ll pay the money and walk out the door.”
Cunningham charged that they were making a “mockery” of the system. Magistrate Joseph Boyer set bond at $100,000 each after Burkman and Wohl’s attorney, Scott Grabel, unsuccessfully argued to have it lowered. They’re also forbidden from doing robocalls until after the election.
Detroit’s ABC News affiliate reports:
Both faces up to seven years in prison if they are convicted of the most serious charges. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the robocall falsely claimed that people who vote by mail are entered into a police database to track down old warrants and outstanding credit card debts.
The call allegedly also claimed falsely that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses mail-in voting information to track down people for mandatory vaccines.
Nessel said nearly 12,000 residents in Michigan received the calls, which originated from a number in Detroit’s 313 area code. Attorneys general in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois also received word about similar calls in urban areas of their states.
Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman appear at their felony arraignment in Michigan pic.twitter.com/eILEVfdpc6
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 8, 2020