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Maryland Politics
Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Guilty verdict in Maryland robocall case

A. Dwight Pettit, left, the attorney for former governor Robert Ehrlich aide Paul Schurick, right, speaks to reporters Schurick's arraignment. (Amy Davis - BALTIMORE SUN)
Paul E. Schurick, the 2010 campaign manager for former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), was convicted Tuesday on four counts of election-law violations stemming from an anonymous robocall he authorized in the waning hours of Election Day.

A Baltimore jury found Schurick guilty of trying to influence votes through fraud, failing to identify the source of the call and two counts of conspiracy to commit those crimes.

The call was placed to 112,000 Democratic voters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, and prosecutors alleged it was intended to suppress the African-American vote in the state’s two largest majority black jurisdictions. Recipients were told by an unidentified woman that they could “relax” because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had achieved his objectives.

During a weeklong trial, Schurick’s defense argued that he relied on the judgment of a campaign consultant who said the calls would use “reverse psychology” and motivate potential Ehrlich supporters to go to the polls. The consultant, Julius Henson, is scheduled to stand trial separately in February.

Sentencing of Schurick was scheduled for Feb. 16.

View documents from the trial (also viewable at full size):

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