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Right-Wing Grifters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Hit With $5 Million Fine for Racist Robocalls

Jacob Wohl speaks at a press conference.

For years, right-wing hoax machines and curators of ridiculous press conferences Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been basically begging to be prosecuted on criminal charges. They’ve made obviously false allegations of sexual harassment and assault against everyone from Elizabeth Warren to Robert Mueller. They filed a false police report accusing supporters of Rep. Ilhan Omar of making “terroristic threats” against them. They filmed a fake FBI raid on Burkman’s home using hired actors and tricked the Washington Post into writing it up.

Last year, they were finally indicted on nearly 20 felony charges for a racist voter-intimidation robocall scheme.

In October of last year, ahead of the 2020 election, Wohl and Burkman were indicted after sending out a robocall to about 85,000 residents in five states, specifically targeting Black voters and discouraging them from voting absentee. The recorded message sent out to cell phones pushed disinformation about voting records being shared with police and collections agencies. The call also claimed voters’ personal information could be added to registries for “mandatory vaccines.”

In Michigan, the two were charged with four felonies: voter intimidation, conspiring to violate election law, and using a computer to commit a crime. In Ohio, they were hit with 15 more felony charges and in New York, a civil lawsuit was filed by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Now the FCC has proposed a fine of $5.1 million for the pair. It’s one of the largest fines ever proposed by the agency, and the largest ever for this specific violation.

The proposed fine isn’t final. According to the Washington Post, it may have to go to a commission vote, and Burkman and Wohl will get a chance to respond. Although so far, their objections haven’t amounted to much. They’ve repeatedly tried to get the charges in Michigan dismissed and have been repeatedly denied, meaning they will have to face trial for charges that carry a punishment of up to seven years in prison.

Speaking with the Post, Burkman called the fine “tyranny and madness” and Wohl tried to blame the harsh penalty on Joe Biden and Afghanistan.

“We know that the Biden administration is desperate to distract from their complete debacle in Afghanistan and Joe’s declining mental state, but we will not be deterred or discouraged,” Wohl said.

Of course, Wohl and Burkman were indicted while Trump was still in office and even if they weren’t, they’re nowhere near important enough to be even a halfway decent “distraction” from anything at all.

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.