Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The political consultant behind the 2010 Election Night robocall scandal fires back at the high-ranking politicians he says are out to get him.
In an exclusive interview, Julius Henson talks to Derek Valcourt about what he calls political payback.
Julius Henson makes no apologies for the Election Night robocall he wrote to help Republican Bob Ehrlich in his 2010 bid to defeat Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley.
“It was a very clean call,” Henson said.
But Democrats called it a dirty trick, an illegal attempt at voter suppression. Maryland’s attorney general and the state prosecutor went after him.
“Unhappy, bitter, evil,” Henson said.
In his first in-depth interview, Henson says he believes his prosecution was politically motivated.
“What I suggest to you is it was never about no voter suppression anyway. It was about trying to do something for a political consultant who went and worked for a Republican who should only work for Democrats in their view,” he said.
He blames “the Democratic hierarchy” for his trouble.
“I mean he [O'Malley] was in the race against Governor Ehrlich. He appointed the state prosecutor. I’m sure the first question he asked him in that interview in December was `How do you feel about robocalls?’” Henson said.
The state prosecutor insists he never spoke with Governor O’Malley about the case. He won criminal convictions against Ehrlich’s campaign manager Paul Schurick but said there was no evidence to prove former Governor Bob Ehrlich knew about the robocall.
“The state didn’t want to find out whether Bob Ehrlich knew,” Henson said. “They weren’t interested in them. They were saying, `Hey, let’s go talk to the African-American people, let’s do them in’ and that’s what they did,” he said.
Henson blames race for the robocall furor.
“Let me ask you this question. Paul Schurick and I were co-defendants or co-conspirators, as they called us,” he said. “Well, nobody got a search and seizure warrant for his house, came into his community and raided his house. Why is that? So if that’s not some part of race on somebody’s case, what would you direct it as?”
Henson also points to the fines a federal judge slapped against him and his employee Rhonda Russell, who recorded the robocall.
“Paul Schurick gets found guilty on four charges, didn’t pay one single dime. Rhonda Russell was not found guilty of anything, wasn’t even on trial, wasn’t charged with anything, yet she was fined $10,000. That’s some perverse justice right there,” he said.
His legal troubles haven’t soured Henson on political consulting.
“I’m sure in the future I’ll get calls on Election Day and I’ll be in a position to write a call,” he said. “So I’ll be making calls again but I won’t make this call.”
Henson promises he’ll take his appeals in both the civil and criminal cases all the way to the Supreme Court, if needed.