Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich testifies before robocall grand jury

May 31, 2011

Update: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, longtime aide Greg Massoni and former elections board chief Gene Raynor were called to testify before the grand jury, according to my source. Chris Cavey, former chairman of the Baltimore County GOP,  just confirmed to me that he also testified.

Former Ehrlich communications director Paul Schurick and Joe Sliwka, a former campaign aide, were not called to testify. I misunderstood my source and I regret the error.

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and a two top aides testified last week before the grand jury investigating deceptive Election Day robocalls made on behalf of his re-election campaign, a source close to the matter told me Tuesday.

Ehrlich, former communications director Paul Schurick and longtime aide Greg Massoni testified before the grand jury, which met for three days, according to a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret.

Also called in, the source said, were a few lesser-known  figures: Chris Cavey, a former chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party, Joe Sliwka, a former campaign aide with whom Ehrlich considered buying a Chick-fil-A franchise after his failed re-election bid; and Gene Raynor, former head of the city and state elections boards.

I've put out calls to Ehrlich and all of the others called to testify. The only one I reached immediately was Raynor, who declined to comment. I will update this post when and if I hear back from the others.

Update: I just heard back from Cavey, who confirmed that he testified.

"It is not a secret," Cavey said. "I was, in fact, summoned to the grand jury. I am not discussing anything other than the fact that I was summoned."

Massoni declined to comment about two weeks ago, when The Sun learned that State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt had empanelled the grand jury to hear testimony about the automated Election Day phone calls.

"Because it's under litigation and because [information about the subpoenas] is not supposed to come out, we're not going to comment," Massoni said then.   

Davitt also declined to comment at that time, noting that the office neither confirms nor denies the existence of ongoing investigations as a matter of policy.

The robocalls urged voters in Democratic precincts to "relax" and stay home from the polls because Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley had already won the election. In fact, the polls were still open and no votes had been tallied.

In December, investigators for the state prosecutor raided the home and office of political operative Julius Henson.

Henson, who received $111,000 from the Ehrlich campaign for "community outreach," has acknowledged orchestrating the calls to more than 112,000 homes in Democratic precincts in Baltimore and Prince George's County. But he said the message was meant to encourage turnout of Ehrlich supporters, not suppress minority turn-out.  

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