Trial Over Robocalls Delayed For Ehrlich Political Operative

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Justice delayed. The trial for the man behind the controversial 2010 Election Night robocalls has been postponed. 

Derek Valcourt tells us why.

 The defendant worked for Bob Ehrlich’s campaign, and since the judge was appointed by Democrat Martin O’Malley, he said he didn’t want to appear biased. 

Political consultant Julius Henson showed up ready for court, but court wasn’t ready for him. Judge Charles Peters recused himself before Henson’s trial even started.

“He was a recent appointee of Gov. O’Malley, so he felt it would be a conflict for him to hear this case,” said Edward Smith Jr., Henson’s attorney. 

Politics unavoidable since Henson was a paid consultant working for the campaign of Gov. O’ Malley’s 2010 Republican opponent Bob Ehrlich. 

Henson admits he was behind the Election Night robocalls to 112,000 registered Democrats in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County — hinting there was no need to vote. 

“I’m calling to let everyone know that Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful,” the robocall said. “We’re OK.  Relax.  Everything is fine.  The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.”

Henson and Ehrlich’s campaign manager Paul Schurick were both indicted on three counts of conspiring to violate election laws, attempting to suppress voter turnout and for failing to identify who was behind the robocalls. 

Henson maintains his innocence and believes his prosecution is political.

“This is something by Ben Cardin, O’Malley just to punish people who disagree with what goes on in the Democratic Party,” Henson said.

Henson’s attorney says his client has already turned down a plea deal offer.

“It’s something when you feel that you’re not guilty and that you’re innocent that you don’t really want to accept,” Smith said.

Henson’s trial has been postponed until Feb. 6. Ehrlich campaign manager Schurick is scheduled for trial on similar charges later this month.

Schurick faces an additional charge of obstruction of justice.

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