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Defense Calls Final Witnesses In Robocall Trial

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Jurors will soon begin debating whether those Election Night robocalls in 2010 amounted to fraud on the part of political consultant Julius Henson.

Derek Valcourt explains jurors heard from the last witnesses Tuesday.

In all, jurors heard six days of testimony about that robocall from Bob Ehrlich’s campaign for governor. Closing arguments begin Wednesday morning. Julius Henson’s testimony in his criminal trial for election fraud is over.

“I think it went extremely well,” Henson said.

Henson faces charges that he conspired with Ehrlich campaign manager Paul Schurick to try to suppress voter turnout with their Election Night robocall. Henson maintains the call used reverse psychology not to suppress votes but to inspire them. Several voters testified they did vote after receiving the robocall.

“The state’s own witness proved that the call in fact worked,” Henson said.

Prosecutors say the robocall was deceptive because it sounded like it was coming from Democrats saying not to worry and that Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley was winning, even though the polls were still open. The call also never contained the legally required authority line identifying that it was paid for by the Ehrlich campaign.

“It comes down to Mr. Schurick and the Ehrlich campaign had to –it was their responsibility — to put an authority line on that call. I recommended that they do so; I went around them to get them to do so. They refused. That is not my responsibility so I have no clue why I’m here,” Henson said.

Jurors will likely begin deliberations by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

A separate jury convicted Ehrlich campaign manager Paul Schurick back in December. He served a month of home detention and must complete 500 hours of community service.

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