PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge will decide whether charges that a former Republican strategist lied to investigators about his role in a phone jamming scheme more that five years ago will go forward or be dismissed.
Attorneys for James Tobin, 48, of Bangor on Monday urged U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal to dismiss the indictments handed up by a federal grand jury in October.
Attorney Tobin Romero of Washington, D.C., said that charging Tobin after his conviction in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire in a related case was overturned met the standards outlined in previous cases for a vindictive prosecution. Romero told the judge that by filing the new charges, prosecutors’ sought to “punish” Tobin for exercising his constitutional rights.
Federal prosecutor Andrew Levchuk argued that vindictive prosecution does not apply in Tobin’s case. He said that the government had filed the most serious charges in November 2004 in federal court in New Hampshire but not all the charges it could have.
Levchuk admitted that the charges of making false statements to investigators would not have been filed if Tobin’s conviction had been upheld.
Tobin was found guilty in December 2005 on two counts of telephone harassment for taking part in a plan to jam the Democratic get-out-the vote phone lines on Election Day in 2002. He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of violating New Hampshire residents’ Constitutional right to vote.
That conviction was overturned by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The appellate court found that the telephone harassment statute was not a good fit for what Tobin and others had done.
There is no timetable under which Singal must issue his decision but he said Monday that he would issue a decision “quickly.”