Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Campaign consultant Julius Henson is in jail. Wednesday, he learned his sentence for Election Day robocalls in 2010.
Derek Valcourt was there as Henson was led out of court in handcuffs.
“It was a very clean call,” Henson said.
Julius Henson’s exclusive interview with WJZ Tuesday night aggravated state prosecutors, who say Henson showed no signs of remorse for what they call an obvious attempt at voter suppression.
“And Mr. Henson made clear he didn’t see this as a problem. It was almost the implication that he would do it again,” said state prosecutor Emmet Davitt.
In that exclusive interview, Henson defended the robocall he wrote on behalf of the campaign for Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich and blamed Democrats, including Governor Martin O’Malley, for his prosecution.
“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,” Henson said.
Because of that interview, prosecutors asked the judge to give Henson an even harsher punishment than the 30 days of home detention given to Henson’s convicted co-conspirator, Ehrlich campaign manager Paul Schurick. Schurick was convicted of three additional counts.
“It appeared to the state and I think to the court that Mr. Henson just didn’t get it,” said Davitt.
During his sentencing Wednesday, Henson told the judge the case against him was patently unfair, labeling it a witch hunt and once again calling state prosecutors evil. The judge then ordered Henson to an immediate 60 days in jail for election fraud conspiracy, saying he used his creative talents to undermine the election process.
In addition to the sentence of one year in jail with all but 60 days suspended, Henson was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and three years of probation, during which time he is barred from election work in a paid or volunteer capacity.
Henson’s attorney calls the punishment unfair.
“I think it’s a terrible situation. It hurts my heart but I do know that people like myself can always fight another day, so I’ll file my appeal. I’ll go to Annapolis and I’ll do what I have to do,” said Ed Smith, Jr.
Henson has also been fined $1 million in a federal civil lawsuit filed by Maryland’s attorney general. A federal judge ordered Henson, his company and an employee to pay the state more than $1 million for Telephone Consumer Protection Act violations.