Michigan AG: Burkman, Wohl arraigned on voter intimidation charges

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 27: Police officers surround Jacob Wohl as he taunts protesters during a "Trump/Pence Out Now" rally at Black Lives Matter plaza August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Protesters gathered as the Republican National Convention on its final night was set to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term in office. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) (Michael M Santiago/GettyImages, 2020 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Two right-wing political operatives accused of voter intimidation in Michigan have turned themselves in to authorities in Detroit, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday.

Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl appeared virtually for arraignment on multiple felony charges in the 36th District Court in Detroit.

Previous: 2 conservative operatives charged with intimidating Michigan voters in robocall investigation

The Attorney General’s office alleges that Burkman and Wohl attempted to deter electors from participating in the November election by creating and funding a robocall targeted at certain area codes, including Detroit and other major U.S. cities with significant minority populations. It’s believed around 85,000 robocalls were made nationally, though an exact breakdown of the numbers of calls made to each city or state is not available.

Burkman, a 54-year-old Arlington, Virginia resident, and Wohl, a 22-year-old Los Angeles resident, 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.

Burkman’s probable cause conference is scheduled for Oct. 15 and his preliminary exam is scheduled for Oct. 21 in front of Judge Roberta Archer. Wohl’s probable cause conference is scheduled for Oct. 15 and his preliminary exam is scheduled for Oct. 20 in front of Judge Kenneth King. Bail was set at $100,000 cash or surety for each defendant.

Burkman is a conservative lobbyist. Wohl is known for promoting right-wing conspiracy theories and trying to smear prominent Democrats.

If convicted of the charges, the maximum amount of prison time each defendant could receive under law is 12 years, due to Michigan’s concurrent sentencing statutes. However, the actual length of incarceration, if any, will depend on sentencing guidelines and the judge’s determination.

Charges were filed Oct. 1 after the Attorney General’s office conducted an investigation into allegations that the two political operatives orchestrated a series of robocalls aimed at suppressing the vote in the November general election.

Arraignments begin at 10:30 a.m., but Burkman and Wohl will be called to appear in order of the court’s established list of cases. The arraignments have been assigned to the digital courtroom No. 134 and will be livestreamed online at the court’s website.

Read: Fact-checking 5 claims about mail-in voting

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.