The case has been sent to the jury after lawyers from both sides gave closing arguments. State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt argued that Paul Schurick’s contention that the robocalls would prompt Ehrlich voters to go to the polls was “ridiculous” and that Schurick committed crimes when he authorized the call.
Schurick’s lawyer, A. Dwight Pettit, said Schurick relied on the advice of consultant Julius Henson, who he said made a judgment that might have been questionable politically but did not amount to a crime by Schurick.
Original post: A case alleging that the 2010 campaign manager for former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrich Jr. (R) sought to suppress the African American vote in Maryland with tens of thousands of election night robocalls is expected to go to the jury Monday.
Paul E. Schurick, a longtime Ehrlich aide, testified in his own defense Friday in Baltimore City Circuit Court that he approved a transcript of automated calls placed to about 110,000 Democratic voters but that he had no intention of trying to suppress black turnout.
Schurick said he accepted the rationale of Julius Henson, an outside consultant hired by Ehrlich’s campaign, that the calls were meant to be “counterintuitive” and motivate potential Ehrlich supporters to get to the polls in the waning hours of Election Day.
The anonymous calls, placed primarily to voters in Prince George’s County and Baltimore, assured recipients that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had been “successful” and that they could “relax.” Henson is scheduled to stand trial separately in February.
Schurick also testified Friday that he did not order Henson to deploy the call without a requisite “authority” line that would make clear Ehrlich’s campaign had paid for the message.