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Man indicted in phone jamming case will argue Administration approved election scheme

John Byrne
Published: Friday July 7, 2006

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The fourth man indicted in a New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme -- in which Republican operatives jammed the phone lines of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in a 2002 Senate race -- will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, according to a motion filed by his attorney Thursday.

Shaun Hansen, the former owner of the company that placed hang-up calls to jam Democratic phone lines, was indicted in March for conspiring to commit and aiding and abetting the commission of interstate telephone harassment relating to a scheme to thwart get out the vote efforts on Election Day, 2002.

His lawyer's motion signals that Hansen intends to argue that he was entrapped because the Administration allegedly told his superiors the calls were legal. The filing indicates, however, that Hansen does not have firsthand knowledge of Administration intervention.

Hansenís lawyer offered an inside look of his defense strategy in yesterday's filing: his client will assert that he believed he was acting on behalf of the government and the Republican Party through his work with GOP Marketplace, the company which subcontracted the phone jamming efforts.

"Mr. Hansen may assert that the government, or an agent therof, actually induced the offenses with which Mr. Hansen is charged, and was not otherwise prediposed to commit," Hansen's lawyer Jeffrey Levin writes.

"Mr. Hansen may asserts [sic] the defense of "derivative entrapment" in which the government uses a private party as its agent," Levin adds.

Phone calls lead to White House

Phone records show hundreds of phone calls from the New Hampshire Republican Party and convicted phone jammer James Tobin to the White House Office of Political Affairs during the time the scheme was being planned and carried out.

The Republican National Committee, which shelled out millions to defend Tobin, has said it is "preposterous" to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.

According to AP, "The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004. Other calls from New Hampshire senatorial campaign offices to the White House could have been made by a number of people."

A liberal political action group, Senate Majority Project, also uncovered that GOP Marketplace, which subcontracted out the hang-up calls to Hansenís Mylo Enterprises, was partly owned by Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chair Haley Barbour.

Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center helped secure the victory of Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in November 2002, 51 to 46 percent.

Hansenís motion can be read here.


 

 
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