New York to file lawsuit against conservative activists accused of using robocall to limit Black turnout in 2020 election

New York state is taking legal action against two conservative activists, accusing them of paying to deploy thousands of deceptive robocalls during the 2020 election to suppress Black voter turnout.

Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday asked a federal judge for permission to join a suit filed last year by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation against the men, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman.

Wohl, 23, gained attention in 2017 when then-President Donald Trump retweeted his comments linking the administration to record-setting financial markets. Wohl was later banned from Twitter.

Wohl and Burkman violated civil rights laws by paying a company to spread false rumors that mail-in voters would have their personal information sent to law enforcement, debt collectors and the government, James said. Separately, Wohl and Burkman face criminal charges of election fraud in Ohio and Michigan over similar allegations. They deny wrongdoing.

According to James, the robocalls said, “Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?”

Randy Kleinman, a lawyer for the men, said the calls were proper, calling the suit an example of “cancel culture” against conservatives.

“If you listen to the calls, there’s absolutely nothing threatening about any of them,” he said in an interview. “We look forward to fighting these fictitious claims.”

James said the state will target efforts to spread false information about mail-in voting. “Wohl and Burkman used misinformation to try to disenfranchise Black communities ahead of the election,” she said in a statement.

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