Prosecutors in Michigan have charged two men, including the 22-year-old Jewish conservative activist Jacob Wohl, with illegal attempts to dissuade residents in Detroit and other urban areas from voting by mail.
Wohl, whose Twitter feed describes him as “Conservative, Trump Supporter, Zionist,” and a 54-year-old pro-Republican lobbyist, Jack Burkman, were charged Thursday with four felony counts, each including conspiring to intimidate voters in violation of election law and using a computer to commit crimes, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
The robocalls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election could subject the voter to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination, The Associated Press quoted Nessel as saying. She said about 85,000 calls were believed to have been made across the nation.
The defendants are not in custody and no date for their arraignments has been set.
Wohl and Burkman both denied involvement when questioned by police. Attempts by AP to contact them following the indictment did not succeed. The two have a history of supporting President Donald Trump and attacking his political opponents.
Michigan is a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won in 2016 in part amid a drop in turnout for Hillary Clinton in heavily Democratic Detroit.