Conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl tried to trick Black New Yorkers out of voting, judge rules

·3 min read

Conspiracy theorist and far right activist Jacob Wohl violated the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Act when he and an associate tried to trick Black voters in New York out of voting, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Mr Wohl was convicted for his role in an operation in which robocalls were sent to thousands of mainly non-white voters before the 2020 election falsely warning them that their personal information would be added to a public database and used by police departments and credit card companies.

“Did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?” NBC News reported the call said.

US District Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his ruling that it was clear Wohl and his associate Jack Burkman wanted to “deny the right to vote specifically to Black voters.”

“We won our lawsuit against Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two conspiracy theorists who engaged in a disgraceful campaign to stop Black people from voting in the 2020 election,” New York attorney general Letitia James wrote on Twitter following the ruling. “Any attempt to silence the voices or votes of New Yorkers will be met with the full force of my office.”

Mr Wohl, 25, has been associated with dubious schemes to aid conservative causes for the last several years. He has been banned from a number of social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook and is accused of having involved himself in efforts to sully the reputations of major Democratic Party politicians including Hillary Clinton, Ilhan Omar, and Joe Biden.

Mr Wohl has also been banned by the National Futures Association after it found that he had misled investors and misrepresented investments in 2017. Wohl was charged with multiple counts of securities fraud in Arizona two years later.

Ms James, the New York attorney general, brought suit against Wohl following the robocalls designed to dissuade non-white voters from using mail-in ballots during the Covid-19 pandemic. Last October, Mr Wohl and Mr Burkman, pleaded guilty to a felony count of telecommunications fraud in Ohio for the scam. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also proposed leveling a $5m fine against the pair.

Th KKK Act, which Mr Wohl has been adjudged to have violated with the robocalling scheme, is officially called the Enforcement Act of 1871. It was passed by Congress during the Reconstruction Era to combat attemps led in part by the KKK to keep newly enfranchised Black Americans from voting.