17 May 2005

Democrats accuse GOP of withholding documents in phone jamming

May 17, 2005

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Lawyers for Democrats and Republicans clashed in court over whether documents were withheld related to a scheme to jam Democratic phone lines during the 2002 general election.

Steven Gordon, a lawyer for the Democratic State Committee, said the documents may contain new information about the phone-jamming operation. He accused the Republican Party of violating a court order by withholding them.

GOP lawyer Ovide Lamontagne denied the charges Monday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. He said he abided by state law governing private documents, and that the Republican Party is acting in good faith.

Judge Phillip Mangones took the arguments under advisement.

Two men have pleaded guilty for their role in the phone-jamming scheme.

A hearing on whether to dismiss charges against James Tobin, the former regional campaign director for the Bush-Cheney campaign from Bangor, Maine, is scheduled for Friday in U.S. District Court.

According prosecutors, several GOP members plotted to jam Democratic lines that voters could call for rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont. A line run by the nonpartisan Manchester firefighters´ union also was jammed.

The more than 800 computer-generated calls lasted about 90 minutes on Nov. 5, 2002, as voters decided races for governor, U.S. senator and hundreds of other offices.


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