- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Jurors are slated to resume deliberating at 9:15 a.m. Friday in the trial of political consultant Julius Henson, who was charged last year for his alleged role in sending more than 100,000 misleading robo-calls to Democrats in Prince George's County and Baltimore city on Election Day 2010.
Thursday the jury asked for and received written copies of Judge Emanuel Brown's instructions as well as written copies of the charges against Henson to review in making their decisions.
Their request was granted over the objection of Henson's lawyer Edward Smith Jr., who told The Gazette he objected because he still contends that case law does not exist for charges filed against Henson, except as it applies to campaign staff.
Henson, who was hired from outside the campaign, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of election fraud and one count of violating a law that requires an authority line on campaign messages.
Jurors deliberated about five hours Thursday before being sent home shortly before 5 p.m. They deliberated for two hours Wednesday afternoon after listening to more than six days of testimony.
Henson has testified that his consulting contract to help former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in his rematch with Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley ended around midnight before Election Day on Nov. 2, 2010.
On that afternoon, Henson said, campaign manager Paul E. Schurick called him for advice about what to do given that voter turnout looked low.
Henson said he told Schurick a robo-call was an option and wrote a script. Henson said the campaign authorized the call without a required authority line, even though Henson said he told Ehrlich campaign staff they needed to add it.
Both sides agreed to tell the jury that Schurick, who did not testify at Henson's trial, had testified in his own trial that he authorized the call.
"If the client didn't want [an authority line] it's his job to give the client what he wanted," Smith told jurors during the defense's closing arguments Wednesday.
The robo-call told recipients to “relax" and that O’Malley and President Barack Obama had been "successful."
"It plainly misrepresents the source of the call [and] conceals the identity of the sender," State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt told jurors before they left to deliberate Wednesday afternoon.
The jury's request for written instructions and charges came shortly before noon Thursday, after they had deliberated about four hours combined on Wednesday and Thursday.
In February, Schurick, who faced the same charges as Henson plus an additional charge of conspiracy to violate election laws, was sentenced to serve 30 days’ home detention and 500 hours of public service during four years’ probation.