Image: James Tobin
Jim Cole  /  AP file
James Tobin has pleaded innocent to federal charges of illegal phone jamming in a Democratic get-out-the-vote operation for Election Day 2002.
updated 11/11/2005 3:21:36 PM ET 2005-11-11T20:21:36

A former national Republican Party official will stand trial on charges he conspired to jam Democratic get-out-the-vote phone lines on Election Day 2002, a federal judge said.

Ruling Thursday, Judge Steven McAuliffe rejected an argument by James Tobin that the conspiracy charges should be dismissed because the government’s allegations were insufficient. The judge said he will consider a motion to dismiss another charge, relating to violating others’ right to vote.

A trial for Tobin, who in 2002 was political director of the national committee working get Republican senators elected, is scheduled for Dec. 6.

He accused of helping arrange hundreds of computer generated hang-up calls that paralyzed Democratic get-out-the-vote and ride-to-the-polls phone lines in New Hampshire cities for more than an hour on Nov. 5, 2002, the year of a closely watched Senate race won by Republican John Sununu against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Tobin’s lawyers argued the allegations against their client may have prevented some from mustering voters, but did not amount to blocking voters from their right to cast a ballot, a distinction McAuliffe agreed to consider.

Prosecutors countered that the intent to blocking voters outweighed the means of deterring them.

“There is no reason to do it if it isn’t to keep someone from voting,” said prosecutor Nicholas Marsh.

Two of Tobin’s GOP associates — former New Hampshire Republican chairman Chuck McGee and consultant Allen Raymond — have already pleaded guilty to phone-jamming conspiracy charges. Both were fined and sentenced to months-long prison terms; both have cooperated with investigators.

The three men and another former GOP official face a related civil suit from Democrats in Hillsborough County.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments