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Henson begins defense in robocalls trial

The judge presiding over the election-fraud trial of Julius Henson denied a motion for acquittal that would have ended the prosecution in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Henson’s lawyer, Edward Smith, made the motion after prosecutors rested their case in on Thursday.

After the ruling by Judge Emanuel Brown, Henson said he planned to testify in the case and may do so as early as Friday.

The defense opened its case by calling several character witnesses to the stand.

The witnesses included Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt, who said she has known Henson since 1983, and former U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn, now a lobbyist with Dickstein Shapiro LLC in Washington. Wynn said Henson worked for him as a political adviser on seven congressional campaigns.

Henson, 63, faces two counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of election fraud and one count of violating the authority line requirement. The case was spurred by a series of automated robocalls made to registered Democrat voters in Baltimore city and Prince George’s County, urging them to stay home and watch television instead of voting. Henson, who was hired by the campaign of former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., has argued that the calls were meant to be counter-intuitive and spur dissatisfied voters to go to the polls.

On Wednesday, Henson’s employee who voiced and created the ads told the jury in the case that she should have sent the message to Republican voters as well, but she was rushed and it was easier to clone earlier robocall campaigns that targeted only Democrats.