Defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit, left, and his client, Paul Schurick,… (Kim Hairston / Baltimore…)
A Baltimore jury today found Paul Schurick, former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign manager, guilty of election fraud and related charges for his role in an election day 2010 robocall.
The jury found Schurick guilty on all four counts in the indictment, including election fraud and a charge related to the failure to include a line stating the Ehrlich campaign's authorization of the call.
Prosecutors said the call, made as Gov. Martin O'Malley swept to a reelection victory, was designed to suppress black votes.
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Schurick and his defense team had portrayed the robocall as a mistake, and used prominent politicians from both parties to vouch for his character.
The automated call said O'Malley and President Obama, who was not on the ballot, had been "successful" in that day's election. The calls were made while the polls were still open and the votes uncounted.
The robocall told voters that "our goals have been met. The polls are correct, and we took it back. We're OK. Relax. Everything's fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight."
During a hearing last week while the jury was not in the courtroom, the presiding judge in the case, Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill, told lawyers that he believed the call was "plainly fraudulent" and one needed only "common sense" to see that the call was "an attempt to try to get people to stay at home."
The jury -- made up of five black women, two black men, three white women and two white men -- spent about two hours deliberating Monday before returning with the verdict today.
Schurick declined to comment on the verdict. His attorney vowed to appeal the verdict on 1st Amendment grounds.
Ehrlich, the first Republican governor elected in Maryland in generations, lost a tough reelection battle to O'Malley in 2006. He challenged O'Malley again in 2010, but lost by a much wider margin.
National Democrats, who recently launched a new "Protecting the Vote" campaign, said they were "pleased" to see "this perpetrator of voter suppression [brought] to justice."
Michael A. Memoli of the Washington bureau contributed to this report.