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Political consultant charged for robocalls November 23, 2009

Posted by tsclaw2209 in News.
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Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that a paid political consultant was charged today with the crime of impersonation in connection with deceptive “robocalls” made to more than 12,000 voters that attacked the two Republican incumbents in the June 2009 primary race for state Assembly in the 40th Legislative District.  Kevin Collins of Brooklyn, N.Y., formerly of Wood-Ridge, N.J., was charged today by complaint-summons with impersonation, a fourth-degree crime, and violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, a disorderly persons offense.

It is alleged that Collins, who was a paid political consultant for Republican challengers Joe Caruso and Anthony Rottino, was responsible for automated phone calls or “robocalls” attacking the Republican incumbents, Assemblymen Scott Rumana and David Russo. The calls, which were made using a robocall service operated by an independent company, allegedly impersonated Assemblyman Rumana’s chief of staff, Ann O’Rourke. The calls featured the voice of a woman who identified herself as “Ann.”

It is alleged that Collins obtained the cellular telephone number of Ann O’Rourke and provided it to the robocall service company so that it would appear that the automated phone message originated from her and her cell phone. The robocall went to more that 12,000 residents of the 40th Legislative District on the day of the primary, June 2, 2009. The call made several inaccurate remarks about the incumbent assemblymen and encouraged recipients to vote against them. The call did not identify what campaign or political organization was responsible for it.

This is an interesting case because the guy has to get PTI.  If he doesn’t, there is no reason not to take the case to trial.  However, this is such a unique case that the State may want to make an example out of him.  They could have him plea but still allow him into PTI so they can issue a press release that makes it seem like they got a conviction when they really didn’t.  Should be interesting.