Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The punishment for the man behind the controversial 2010 Election Night robocalls draws criticism from a surprising source. One of Julius Henson’s political enemies cries foul, saying what’s happening to Henson isn’t fair.
As Derek Valcourt explains, he’s the sole voice speaking out publicly to defend Henson.
“I am not a friend of Julius Henson.”
In fact, University of Maryland law professor Larry Gibson doesn’t like campaign consultant Henson at all.
He even agrees the Election Night robocalls Henson wrote on behalf of the campaign for Republican Bob Ehrlich were offensive and reprehensible and clearly intended to suggest Democrats need not go vote.
“Nevertheless, it is dangerous to our society– and particularly minority communities– to begin criminalizing political statements, even those that are false and misleading,” Gibson said.
Gibson– who’s run several political campaigns himself– calls the election laws Henson and Ehrlich campaign manager Paul Schurick were charged with unconstitutional, and says it’s unacceptable that Henson’s one misdemeanor conviction landed him in jail for 60 days compared to 30 days of home detention for Schurick, who was convicted of two felonies and two misdemeanors.
Gibson is also upset that Henson was put right into handcuffs and denied an opportunity for bail.
“The only legitimate reason to deny a person bail is that they are an imminent threat to society or the community or they are bail risk, neither of which apply here to Mr. Henson,” he said.
But prosecutors say the lack of remorse Henson showed during an exclusive interview with WJZ that aired Tuesday night justify a harsher punishment and jail time.
“And Mr. Henson made it clear he didn’t see this as a problem what he did. It was almost the implication that he would do it again,” Maryland state prosecutor Emmet Davitt said.
But Gibson disagrees and he’s calling on the judge to reduce Henson’s punishment.
Gibson says he expects Paul Schurick’s conviction will be overturned on appeal. Henson says he’s confident he too will be vindicated by appellate courts.