“Sean Spicer may hold key to future of N.J. Trump voter intimidation case”

Jonathan Salant for NJ.com.

Sean Spicer’s visit to Trump Tower on Election Night looms large as a federal judge decides whether to end Republican National Committee’s 35-year restriction on its voter activities in a case that began with  a New Jersey election.

A court-sanctioned agreement limiting GOP activities targeting minority voters, known as a consent decree, is scheduled to end Friday unless U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez decides to extend it.

Before he rules, Vazquez agreed to let Democratic National Committee lawyers question Spicer, the former White House press secretary, about his Election Night activities.

The case comes as President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election and formed a commission to examine voter fraud, which studies have shown is virtually non-existent.

“I would not have worried about the RNC engaging in conduct that would count as voter suppression,” said election law expert Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine. “But with Trump leading Republicans, who knows? He’s made unfounded claims of massive voter fraud a key part of his political strategy. So I’m worried.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who called Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity “a thinly veiled voter suppression effort” and has introduced legislation to end the panel, said the consent decree should continue.


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