22-year-old Jacob Wohl and 54-year-old Jack Burkman both face four felony counts in Detroit, with the Associated Press stating on Thursday that conspiring to intimidate voters in violation of election law and using a computer to commit crimes were among them.
The robocalls in question, per Thursday's report, are alleged to have been crafted to convince people in Detroit and other cities to not vote by mail. Among the falsehoods used in the calls to convince voters were that by-mail ballots could result in "arrest, debt collection, forced vaccination," and more.
"Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. "This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election. 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. Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free, and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that."
Nessel said that it's estimated that around 85,000 such calls were placed nationally, though an exact count is not available.
Burkman and Wohl's full charges are as follows:
- election law—intimidating voters (five-year felony)
- conspiracy to commit an election law violation (five-year felony)
- using computer to commit crime of election law—intimidating voters (seven-year felony)
- using computer to commit crime of conspiracy (seven-year- felony)