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May 11, 2012 10:49 PM
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore jury convicts political consultant Julius Henson on one of the four charges brought against him in the Election Night robocall scandal.
Derek Valcourt has been following the trial for two weeks. He has reaction from Henson and the jury.
For Henson this is a partial victory– an end to his two-week trial and a 20-month ordeal with only one guilty verdict against him.
“Obviously, we’re elated,” Henson said.
As Republican Bob Ehrlich and Democrat Martin O’Malley squared off in a 2010 rematch, Henson– Ehrlich’s campaign consultant– wrote and sent a robocall to 112,000 registered Democrats before polls closed on election night, suggesting there was no need to go vote because O’Malley was already winning.
The robocall said: “I’m calling to let everyone know that Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful. We’re OK. Relax. Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.”
For that robocall, Henson was charged with influencing or attempting to influence voter turnout through the use of fraud, publishing campaign material without an authority line and conspiracy.
Jurors found him not guilty on the two most serious charges against him– charges of election fraud and conspiracy for the robocall he wrote on behalf of Republican Bob Ehrlich’s campaign.
“The jury has spoken on it and we respect their verdict,” state prosecutor Emmet Davitt said.
Davitt tried to convince jurors the robocall was an illegal attempt to trick African-Americans into not voting. Henson argued the robocall was reverse psychology and jurors agreed there was nothing illegal about it.