Guilty Verdict In Robocall Trial
by KDLT News
August 29, 2013 5:53 PM
The jury has reached a verdict in the trial for a man accused of making "robocalls" under a fake group.
They found Daniel Willard guilty of all 4 counts of failing to accurately state who paid for the phone calls. Willard is a Republican activist accused of sending recorded messages to hundreds of South Dakotans before the 2012 election.
The messages attacked Republican state legislators under the group named "Veterans Against Unethical Politicians."
In court Thursday, Willard's attorney, R. Shawn Tornow, called one witness, South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant.
While Gant was on the stand, Tornow tried to explain how different federal political committees do not need to register with the state before making political communications like robocalls.
Gant said under state law, a group must file with the secretary of state's office so the public knows who that group is.
Gant received several of the robocalls before the 2012 election on his personal cell phone, and says he was confronted by a handful of state lawmakers about the legality of such robocalls. Gant said he thought there was something illegal about the calls.
"The Secretary of State doesn't have the authority to go and tell them they have to file. My job is to accept what is filed with my office. If someone does something we question, we then go to the attorney generals office," said Gant.