A man who managed the gubernatorial campaign for former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich was sentenced to 30 days of home detention on Feb. 16 for his role in conducting robocalls on the day of the 2010 general election in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City.
“This needs to send a message to anyone who would interfere with anyone’s opportunity to vote that it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Maryland Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill said at sentencing of one-time political aide Paul Schurick, according to the Associated Press.
According to prosecutors, Paul Schurick ordered the calls that went out to 110,000 phones. Also accused of helping orchestrate the scheme was campaign consultant Julius Henson, who told the AFRO in 2010 that the calls originated from his company, Universal Elections.
“Universal Elections made the call and it was my decision to make the call,” Henson said. “It’s really nonsensical that is coming from the people who won by 14 points and were leading by 14 points for more than a week.”
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler immediately launched an investigation in the matter and filed a complaint.
Rushern Baker, who won in the race for Prince George’s county executive, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake both condemned the calls which prematurely proclaimed victory for Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“Hello. I’m calling to let everybody know that Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful,” the call said. “Our goals have been met. The polls were correct and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. Everything’s fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight. Congratulations, and thank you.”
Schurick faced up to 12 years in prison. However, in addition to the home detention sentence, he’ll also have 500 hours of community service, which he’ll have to split evenly in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. Henson’s trial is expected to begin this month.