BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A robocall that might or might not have cost a candidate for Anne Arundel County council an election, is now being replayed in an Annapolis courtroom.
A pair of political operatives are the defendants in a criminal trial.
In 2014, Patrick Armstrong was running for a seat on Anne Arundel’s county council. Armstrong was ahead in the polls and early voting, but his opponent, Republican Michael Peroutka, went on to win the seat:
Armstrong tells WJZ he thinks it was a dirty trick.
The issue is a robocall made to five thousand homes in a conservative district, days before the election:
“Call Patrick today and thank him for his bravery in coming out of the closet.”
Armstrong ran as an openly gay man, but the call linked him to supporting so-called “Bathroom Bans.”
“Transgenders can now openly and freely go into any bathroom of their choice.”
The call claimed it was “Paid for and authorized by Marylanders for Transgenders”.
“And the law requires candidates to do that so the public knows who’s paying for what,” says former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey.
Allegedly violating that campaign law has brought misdemeanor criminal charges against Dennis Fusaro, who was Peroutka’s campaign manager, and Stephen Waters, who allegedly organized and paid for the robocalls.
“Marylanders forTransgenders” is not listed in google and is possibly fictitious:
This robocall is about more than politics. According to Armstrong, it also impacted his family.
“At the end, they mention my parent’s phone number and ask people to call, which to me is disgusting. People calling saying I can’t believe you support the transgender community, I can’t believe you support this bill. So yeah, we got quite a few. We did.”
The trial will not change Michael Peralta’s win, and he is not facing any charges in the robocall trial.