Two conservative political operatives charged with misleading voter robocalls

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

In August people in Detroit who were registered voters the trait is majority Democrat city. It's nearly eighty percent African, American registered voters in Detroit this summer. who had phone numbers in the three one three Detroit area code. They started getting calls that kind of seemed like crimes. And I'm going to play the call for you here. I will tell you before I play it that it is what you're about to hear on this call is unmitigated Bo Punky none of this is true but this is the call slash crime that went out to detroiters this summer. I'm. Not Ninety nine. Founded by Jack Berkman and Jacob. ooh. Mandarin voting found great but they do know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be other public they that will be leaked assignments to track down. So worn and being used a credit card companies to collect outstanding debt the city even pushing. For they've only to try people for mandatory. I'll be connected door formation for the main. State. Where both by. Wear vote by mail. Vote by mail, your personal information is going to be given to the police to track you down for any old warrants and your personal information will be given to credit card companies to track you down for any old debt, and then the CDC is going to use that information. If you vote by mail to hunt you down and make you take mandatory vaccines that you don't want. Right that's all horse hockey. None of that is true voting by mail in Michigan doesn't actually put your personal information out there anywhere registering the vote means registering to vote but beyond that, how you vote doesn't matter at all. But when Sandra McNeill, on WWe, in Detroit got that recording of call they started looking into it. See if it was a one offer to see if this is more widespread thing. They started looking into it. So did the State Attorney General and the Michigan Secretary of State and those state officials held a press conference and they took the unusual step of releasing the audio recording of that call. So that other people who might have received, it would recognize it but also I think to put people on notice that this was misinformation and if you get this, this is not only wrong. This is potentially a crime they gave a stern public warning saying they're working to find out who was sending these absolutely false calls full of disinformation trying to intimidate voters they asked for members of the public to let them know if they too had received a call like this record, the call record, the date, and time you received it record any identifying information that came in with the call on your caller, id or anything like that. Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel warned that it is a felony under Michigan Law to deter or otherwise disrupt a person attempting to vote. So they went big with it. They basically said in that press conference five or so weeks ago you know listen you're targeting mostly black registered voters to dump all this disinformation on them to try to stop them voting by mail the you may think this is cute but this is illegal in this state and we're coming for you. Well today they made good on that threat tonight Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced felony charges that have been filed against the two men whose names were listed at the beginning of that call. They have publicly denied having anything to do with this call. They've said, this must be some liberal group trying to make them look bad. It should be noted that callers received these calls also got caller ID messages saying the calls for coming from one of the two men's phone numbers. these guys are are trump supporters and conservative activists with a history of making flamboyant false claims at one point during the special counsel's investigation Robert Muller's office released a public statement announcing that they had referred these guys to the FBI after multiple women came forward to say that these guys had offered them money to make up sexual assault allegations against Robert. Muller. They referred them to the FBI for that. I. Wonder Whatever happened to that FBI referral. These gentleman also fabricated sexual assault allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buddha judge in the heat of the Democratic primary that allegation fell apart when the person they put forward to make those charges against people to judge publicly recanted and admitted that it wasn't true and publicly explained that these guys had put him up to it. They also tried to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Dr Anthony FAUCI. Seriously they offered cash rewards anybody who would say they heard Joe Biden using racial epithets right. These guys are a peach of a pair and they have been doing this kind of stuff to try to boost the trump campaign and to boost the trump presidency they've been doing it for a long time now apparently with impunity. But now they are facing multiple felony charges in Michigan Four felony charges all related to the election crime of intimidating voters. With a maximum total jail time of I think twenty four years in prison. But here's what's particularly interesting here. The investigation sparked by the Michigan authorities deciding that they were going to go big and go public with this turned up the fact that this wasn't just a local thing that had happened to one or two people. It wasn't even a Michigan specific attack turns out the calls out all over I. It was a Chicago Alter woman a local official in Chicago who alerted the board of elections there that she too had received this racist robocall. At her home in Chicago. Then it was people in Pittsburgh, and in Philadelphia who all said, they got this excuse me this same call. When Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan announced these felony charges today she said, the her office conferred with the Attorney General in Illinois or Chicago is and in Pennsylvania where Philly in Pittsburgh are but she says, she also conferred with the Attorneys Journal in New York and in Ohio because it turns out these calls have been going out to majority black districts registered voters in majority black districts all over the country in all in announcing these charges today the Michigan Attorney General's office estimates that eighty five, thousand of these calls have gone out. Just in the past few weeks trying to terrify black voters into not voting by mail at. Eighty, five thousand mostly black voters getting these calls saying if you vote by mail the CDC's going to put you on a list for mandatory vaccination that you don't want. If you vote by mail the credit card companies are going to track you down to find all your debt. If you vote by mail, the police are coming for you. Eighty five thousand of these calls. In. Multiple States. Over a period of weeks. After Attorney General Dana Nessel announced these charges today in Michigan. She didn't interview with that reporter from Wj, who helped break this thing open from the start with that tip from a listener. Reporter Sandra McNeill she asked the AG. The question that actually has been on my mind since I first heard about this story, which is, why did these guys have the goal to use their own names on this robocall? which so obviously appears to be a crime in progress trying to intimidate voters why would you put your name on that while committing that crime that's like robbing a bank and handing your real business card everybody might have witnessed it. Attorney General Nestle told the reporter from WWe Jay in response quote I honestly think that they've gotten away with so many things for so long. They thought that no, one would do anything they thought it wouldn't matter. Turns out matters. Joining us now live from Michigan is the Great State of Michigan's attorney, General Nestle Madam Attorney General. Thank you so much for being here. Tonight know it's a busy time. For having me I really appreciate your use of the term bull hockey I've never heard that before. But they use it. Bowl puppy and horse hockey are terms of art. You're welcome to use either of them. I don't even collect commission anymore. Does ask if I've got any of that wrong or if there's any important part of this. Case that you brought today that you announced today that I've missed. Now I think it was a summation. But what I think I'd like people to know is first of all, you know, yeah, that was twelve thousand calls that were made to the state of Michigan really centralized in the city of Detroit, the three one, three area area code, which is the city of Detroit. The thing about this, that's twelve thousand calls the twelve thousand potential voters trump won the state of Michigan by just over ten thousand votes. So I mean this is incredibly impactful and what I thought about for a long time. What is the point of having all these laws on the books in regard to voter suppression voter intimidation threats against voters if we never actually. Enforce them and what we know about twenty six sixteen is that trump didn't win because of the people who voted for him in Michigan he wanted because of the people who didn't voted all and that is what I think. These folks are trying to accomplish trying to suppress the vote and scare people into not voting action t during the course of a global pandemic, and we're not having it in this state just absolutely neck when you accept that these individuals can be so brazen as to attach themselves personally to these phone calls and think they can just get away with it. If they think it's funny that can joke around about it behind bars as far as I'm concerned. Is there a technical reason why cases like this are hard to bring? Obviously, these gentlemen have the. Office charged today they have their names on the front of this robocalled. They've since publicly denied that they actually made the robocall and said, somebody else must have done this in their names in order to make them look bad or prank them when it comes to the technical nature of proving that these were the people who in the charges conspired to and ultimately committed these acts voter intimidation is it hard to prove? Well. Unfortunately, for Mr, role and Mr Berkman Bud year ago, and my aunt established one of the first set anti. Robo calling task forces and so we were interested at the time in political related robocalls. We were interested in those calls that are made that ended up defrauding, he will and scamming people. So we already had the technology in place. So we knew where these calls were coming from and that allowed us to work with authorities in the state of California and thanks to my good friend. Attorney General Sarah in California who assisted us in this investigation but we have compelling evidence that these individuals committed these crimes and we're quite clear and confident about who the perpetrators of these crimes were. They just obviously never thought that we would actually end up investigate and actually charge but you know voter suppression is a very serious matter as Thomas Paine so So famously stated many years ago I voting is the right upon which all other rights are dependent. So if you deprive somebody of their ability to vote you deprive him of everything else in. Life and you know this has gone on for far too long. I think many people are tired of their scams. This isn't the first time that we've investigated these guys. As you noted, there was a an incident involving judge that involved the state of Michigan, an individual who lived in the state of Michigan. So it's not the person. I've seen their names. On a piece of paper in my office. And we're tired of them coming into our state and stirring up this kind of trouble by using false and misleading statements and trying to threaten or intimidate voters.

Coming up next