Ehrlich Aide In Robocalls Case Gets 1 Month Of Home Detention, Community Service

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The man who ran Bob Ehrlich’s campaign will not go to jail for his role in the 2010 Election Night robocall controversy. That’s the decision from a Baltimore judge Thursday morning at the sentencing for Paul Schurick.

Derek Valcourt has Schurick’s reaction and more on the punishment he faces.

Paul Schurick admits he authorized those Election Night robocalls, and for that a judge says he’ll spend one month in home detention.

“It was in fact a profound personal failure,” Schurick said after sentencing.

For the first time, the Ehrlich campaign manager spoke out about the Election Night robocall that he says cost him his career, put his family through hell and publicly humiliated him.

“Regret yeah. I just walked out of a courtroom. You’re damn right I have a sense of regret. It was a mistake. It was the wrong decision. We live with the consequences,” he said.

A jury agreed the robocalls to 112,000 registered Democrats in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County amounted to voter suppression because the call hinted Bob Ehrlich’s opponent Gov. O’ Malley had already won and there was no need to go vote.

Schurick approved the call.

“Because I believed there were several thousand African-American supporters of Bob Ehrlich who had not yet voted that day and that a message — as counter-intuitive as it seems in hindsight — that a message such as that would in fact motivate them to go to the polls if they had not already done so,” Schurick said.

But judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill strongly criticized Schurick as he sentenced him to a month of home detention.

“Any professional campaign person hearing the text of that call should have said ‘no,’” Fletcher-Hill said. “It’s deceptive. It’s illegal. You shouldn’t do it. ”

The state prosecutor agrees.

“This type of behavior is more than just a dirty trick or politics as usual. It is illegal,” said Emmet Davitt, state prosecutor.

Schurick insists his prosecution will impact future elections.

“Trust me, political professionals in Maryland are now very, very aware of the outcome of this trial and the consequences,” Schurick said.

The judge also gave Schurick 500 hours of community service. He’ll have to split that: 250 hours in Baltimore City, 250 in Prince George’s County.  He will be on probation for four years. A fine was not imposed.

Schurick had faced up to 12 years in prison.

Campaign consultant Julius Henson also faces trial later this month.  He wrote the robocall and is accused of conspiring with Schurick to suppress voter turnout.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • George Helm

    How much did this political witchhunt cost the taxpayer to impose 1 month home detention? What a waste of time and money!

  • chetta-ketta

    F….k’n joke.

  • Steve Wilson

    Both Bob Ehrlich and Paul Schurick.should be in jail (not the same one).

  • Kathryn

    That’s not a sentence, it’s a joke. A month of sleeping late and watching TV…. where do I sign up?

    Ehrlich should do jail time as he should bear the ultimate responsibility for his campaign’s actions. Do I buy that he did not know about it? Not for a second! I am sick and tired of crooked politicians. The law needs to be changed as the do not call list should include politicians too so that we have a right not the have to be bothered by all those lying jokers.

  • Jeff

    They already said that Schuricks defense was paid for by left over campaign money and it’s legal. There is something wrong with that. I’m sure people who donated their money didn’t intend that it be used to pay for the defense of someone who did something illegal.

  • Jeff

    Did anyone read his excuse and think that it doesn’t make sense at all. He said he did it to motivate african american ehrlich voters to go vote for ehrlich. How is a message saying O’malley already won going to motivate someone to take the time and energy to go cast a meanigless vote. It makes no sense at all. These Judges these days. Slap on the wrist. How do you go from up to 12 years in jail to 1 month home detention. No wonder we have criminals barely serving jail time.

  • Steve Wilson

    The fix was in.

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