[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] on Wednesday overturned [opinion text] the conviction of James Tobin [SourceWatch profile], President Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England. Tobin was convicted for his involvement in jamming phone lines to block Democratic voting drives [JURIST report] during the 2002 Senate election in New Hampshire, which was won by Republican candidate Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) [official website] by less than five percentage points. The First Circuit remanded the case to the district court because no intent to harass was alleged, proved, or disputed by the parties. Tobin, who was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment [JURIST report] last year, remains free after the reversal. AP has more.
Tobin maintained his innocence throughout the district court 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. In addition to the prison sentence, he was also fined $10,000 and given two years probation. In separate proceedings, Allen Raymond, former president of Republican consulting group GOP Marketplace, received a five month sentence, and Chuck McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party was sentenced to seven months in prison and $2,000 in fines [JURIST reports]. McGee admitted that he had paid a Virginia telemarketing company more than $15,000 in a scheme to jam Democratic Party phone lines with computer-generated calls. In November, Shaun Hansen, former owner of the telemarketing firm Mylo Enterprises Inc., pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to two federal counts of conspiracy to commit interstate telephone harassment. A civil lawsuit brought by the New Hampshire Democratic Party against the New Hampshire Republican State Committee was settled [JURIST reports] late last year for $135,000.