A Baltimore jury convicted Paul E. Schurick on conspiring and attempting to sabotage Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s re-election last fall with Election Day 2010 robocalls telling Democrats in the city and Prince George’s County that victory was at hand and they did not have to go to the polls.
Schurick, 55, faces up to 12 years in prison on the four counts. Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill set sentencing for Feb. 16 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
The jury came back around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Deliberations began at 2:30 Monday afternoon, after attorneys for the state and Schurick — who was campaign manager for Republican candidate and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. — gave closing arguments on the trial’s sixth day.
During deliberations, the jury twice asked Fletcher-Hill about aspects of the conspiracy count. They returned with the verdict shortly after the judge’s response to their second note, asking whether a conspiracy could be based on a spur-of-the-moment agreement.
Schurick was convicted of attempting to fraudulently influence registered voters not to go to the polls; of sending robocalls without an “authority line” to inform voters the calls were made at the Ehrlich campaign’s behest; and of conspiring with political consultant Julius Henson to accomplish both goals.
Schurick claimed the pre-recorded call was a misguided attempt to spur voter turnout.
“Hello. I’m calling to let everyone know that Gov. O’Malley and President Obama have been successful,” the message said. “Our goals have been met. The polls were correct and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight. Congratulations and thank you.”
Henson, 62, is scheduled to go on trial on similar charges Feb. 6 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.