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Bush campaigner sentenced in New Hampshire phone jamming case

[JURIST] James Tobin [SourceWatch profile], President Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison [press release] after being convicted [press release] in December for his involvement in jamming phone lines to block Democratic voting drives [JURIST report] during the 2002 Senate election in New Hampshire. In that race, the Republican candidate, Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) [official website], beat Democratic challenger Jeanne Shaheen by less than five percentage points. In handing down the sentence, US District Court Judge Steve McAuliffe told Tobin that "people in your position need to know they cannot do these things and if they do the consequences are very, very serious." Tobin maintained his innocence throughout the trial, claiming to have no knowledge of the 800 hang-up phone calls that were placed to interfere with Democratic get-out-the-vote campaigns. Tobin's request for bail was denied, and he was also fined $10,000 and given two years probation.

Tobin's lawyers were hired by the Republican National Committee [JURIST report] from the prestigious firm Williams & Connelly, and have been paid over $2.5 million in compensation. The former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party has been sentenced to seven months in prison [NHPR report] for planning the scheme, and the ex-president of a Republican consulting firm is now serving a five month sentence [Washington Post report] for persuading a telemarketing company to make the calls. Tobin plans to appeal the sentence. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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