- Michigan: MSHDA rolls out online application tool for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance
- Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights on the Passing of Elbert Hatchett
- Statement from the Michigan Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC) on COVID-19 Protocols and Vaccine Hesitancy in the Black Community
February 23, 2021
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Judge Margaret Van Houten rejected a motion from defendants to quash the information and dismiss the case against political robocallers Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, rejecting the pair's constitutional arguments.
The case remains pending in Third Circuit Court.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling, and look forward to the case continuing on to the next stage of the proceedings," Nessel said.
Burkman, 54, and Wohl, 22, are accused of orchestrating a robocall to intimidate voters in Detroit and other cities with significant minority populations. The defendants are each charged with:
- One count of election law – intimidating voters, a five-year felony;
- One count of conspiracy to commit an election law violation, a five-year felony;
- One count of using a computer to commit the crime of election law – intimidating voters, a seven-year felony; and
- Using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy, a seven-year felony.
In their motion and oral arguments, Burkman and Wohl claimed the conduct did not violate Michigan's voter intimidation law and that the robocalls were nonetheless protected by the First Amendment. Judge Van Houten rejected these arguments today.
More on Michimich.com
- Congratulations to the latest companies earning MVP status
- PocketSuite Partners With ShearShare to Help Stylists Boost Business
- The Anderson Group Real Estate Services' New Concierge Program Aims To Help Nashville-area Homeowners Sell For Top Dollar
- Public asked to help guide Michigan's goal of carbon neutrality by 2050
- Michigan: Lane closures on US-31 bascule bridge in Manistee next two weeks for exploratory soil borings
Van Houten ruled that the district court did not abuse its authority in binding over the case to Circuit Court because the robocall had the potential to deter people from voting by mail. She also rejected the free speech argument made by defendants.
"I think that this does not qualify as ... a violation of the First Amendment in this context," Van Houten said. "Every statement has to be viewed in and of itself. It's not expressing an opinion, it is stating information that is misleading at very least and possibly false …"
Click here to view a recording of the hearing in Judge Van Houten's virtual courtroom.
Attorney General Nessel's Office filed criminal charges on Oct. 1, 2020 alleging Burkman and Wohl attempted to deter voters from participating in the Nov. 3 general election by disseminating a robocall making a number of falsehoods and targeting specific areas, including Detroit and other major U.S. cities with significant minority populations. These robocalls were made in late August and went out to nearly 12,000 residents in the Detroit area.
More on Michimich.com
- Michigan: DNR's Eastern UP Citizens' Advisory Council to meet in virtual session
- Michigan: Attorney General Nessel Charges Benton Harbor Man
- Michigan: US-2 Dickinson County resurfacing project starts April 26
- Michigan: Reminder: Ongoing bridge work requires closing I-75 this weekend in Oakland County
- Michigan: Former Osceola County Sheriff's Deputy Sentenced for Series of Child Sex Crimes, Felony Drug Charges
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Latest on Michimich.com
- Michigan: AG Nessel Files Embezzlement Charges Against Former EGLE Employee
- Michigan: Work on Burns Street overpass replacement requires closing a lane on westbound I-94 in Detroit
- Terri Ross, Renowned Practice Consultant, Joins Dozens of Industry Thought Leaders to Speak at the ISAPS Business School Program
- Sterling Watson's Deadly Sweet Released
- Michigan: Attorney General Nessel Partners with Responsibility.org to Prevent Underage Drinking During Alcohol Responsibility Month
- Michigan: M-53 closed Friday night, April 16, for culvert replacement at Stiles Road in Lapeer County
- New Partnership to FightCybercrime Launching Program to Support the Military and Veteran Community
- Eaton Engineer Recognized as One of SME's 25 Leaders in Smart Manufacturing
- Health Insurance Virtual Town Hall Offered to Michigan Consumers
- Michigan: Spring steelhead egg collection on Little Manistee River set to start Tuesday
- Michigan: Treasury: Taxpayers Reminded About Individual Income Tax Deadline Change
- Michigan: Ypsilanti Man Sentenced After Embezzling More Than 100K from Elderly Victim
- Anthology of Award-Winning Books Explores Global Concerns in a Child-friendly Format
- Paradigm Technology Group Joins The Evolve IP Partner Program
- Mike Morse Law Firm's Podcast, Open Mike, Releases Landmark 100th Episode
- Delirious Comedy Club Presents Pauly Shore Every Friday Night In April
- Michigan temporarily pausing use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on FDA and CDC guidanceFDA and CDC are reviewing six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot
- Michigan: Detroit casinos report $113.84 million in March monthly revenue while operating at limited capacity
- Michigan: Attorney General Nessel Announces Settlement with Ferrellgas Over Alleged Violations of Consumer Protection Laws
- Michigan: MDOT hosting virtual public meeting for M-37 repaving and Battle Creek Linear Park Trail temporary closure