Ehrlich appears before robocall grand jury

Source says former governor asked to testify about deceptive Election Day calls

May 31, 2011|By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and a longtime aide appeared last week before a grand jury investigating deceptive Election Day robocalls made on behalf of his re-election campaign, a source close to the matter said Tuesday.

Ehrlich and Greg Massoni were called to testify, as was Gene Raynor, the former head of the city and state elections boards, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret.

Chris Cavey, a former chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party, confirmed that he also was called before the grand jury, which met for three days in the downtown Baltimore Circuit Courthouse.

"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."

Ehrlich and Massoni did not respond to messages seeking comment. Raynor declined to comment.

State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt, whose office does not publicly discuss ongoing investigations as a matter of policy, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The automated Election Day calls 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.

Julius Henson, a political operative who received $111,000 from the Ehrlich campaign for "community outreach," has acknowledged orchestrating the calls. He has said they were meant to encourage Ehrlich supporters to vote, not suppress minority turnout.

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