Attorney in robo-calls case assails Gansler

An attorney for Julius Henson, a political operative who was indicted last week for his alleged role in an election-night robo-call, accused Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) on Wednesday of trying to score political points on the issue.

Gansler has filed a separate civil suit, alleging that Henson, who was hired by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), violated federal law by orchestrating 112,000 robo-calls that told voters they could “relax” because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had already won last year’s election.

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The polls were still open when the calls went out to homes in the heavily Democratic and majority African American jurisdictions of Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

Through a series of legal filings, Gansler and Henson’s attorney, Edward Smith Jr., have been arguing over whether the civil case should move forward while Henson faces criminal prosecution.

“Bad faith can be simply found in the AG’s sound bytes in the media and those of his party members [who] have rallied to protect what they see as the voting rights of the minorities,” Smith wrote in his latest response, filed Wednesday. “How much of this is real, or crocodile tears, remain to be tested, but it smacks of hypocrisy and gamesmanship. This court should not allow it.”

In his most recent filing, Gansler said he was seeking “expeditious  action” so that Henson and his company would be punished and prevented from repeating the “illegal conduct.” If Gansler prevails, Henson’s company could face a hefty fine.

In his response Wednesday, Smith said some of Gansler’s arguments were “totally meritless.”

“It is the very State of Maryland that seeks a criminal penalty against Henson, which seeks to have him put the rope in his own hand to hang himself, via the AG for purposes which can only be described as political,” Smith wrote.

Gansler is widely expected to run for governor in 2014.

Henson, an African American, had primarily worked for Democrats  in majority black jurisdictions before being hired by Ehrlich last year.

Besides Henson, Paul E. Schurick, Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager, was also indicted last week by a grand jury in Baltimore. The criminal indictments were sought by the Maryland state prosecutor’s office, which operates independently of Gansler.  

A spokesman for Gansler, saying the case is still pending, declined to comment Wednesday.

 
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