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Grand Jury to Reconvene in Phone Jam Case

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  • Grand Jury to Reconvene in Phone Jam Case

    Grand Jury to Reconvene in Phone Jam Case

    Thu Aug 25, 8:48 PM ET

    MANCHESTER, N.H. - A federal prosecutor said he will reconvene a grand jury in a case involving the jamming of Democratic phone lines in 2002 — raising the possibility that other Republicans might be implicated.

    Phone lines were bombarded with electronically generated calls, jamming lines set up for voters seeking rides to the polls on Election Day. Two GOP operatives have pleaded guilty in the case and a third is scheduled for trial.

    "The grand jury will meet at least one additional time before the end of this year," Justice Department attorney Andrew Levchuk told a judge Wednesday.

    Levchuk asked the judge to delay a civil lawsuit brought by state Democrats against the state GOP over the jamming, which also affected one phone line run by a nonpartisan firefighters' union.

    A grand jury has indicted James Tobin, former regional director for the
    Republican National Committee, for allegedly orchestrating the jamming. Tobin, who was the regional chairman for
    President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, has pleaded innocent.

    Levchuk asked that Democrats not be allowed to question witnesses in the civil case until Tobin's trial is finished. Questioning in the civil case could interfere with the criminal investigation, he said.

    Attorneys for the Democrats have been fighting to get the civil lawsuit moving, arguing that the statute of limitations is running out. They also argue the jamming was part of something larger.

    "We believe there are other defendants out there," lawyer Paul Twomey said Friday.

    Ovide Lamontagne, lawyer for the state GOP, disagreed.

    "Based on what I know, the whole phone-jamming scheme was concocted by one person, and that was Chuck McGee, who did this without authorization," Lamontagne said.

    McGee, state GOP executive director in 2002, pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to seven months in jail. Allen Raymond, a GOP consultant from Virginia, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months in jail.

    McGee has said former state Republican Chairman John Dowd authorized the phone-jamming. Dowd has said McGee told him about it, but he did not authorize it and, after consulting with a lawyer, ordered it stopped. Dowd has not been charged.