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New Hampshire: Tobin to be sentenced

The Portland Press Herald reports: For more than three years, a plot to jam Democrats' phone lines on Election Day in 2002 has been shadowing New Hampshire Republicans. Yet as recently as December, when a GOP political insider from Maine was convicted in the scheme, the scandal wasn't attracting much attention outside of New England.

That's changed in the past few months, as Democrats have tried to link the phone-jamming case to disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour and the White House.

James Tobin, the convicted political operative from Bangor, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, near the start of a new campaign season. Depending on which political party is talking, his court date represents either one of the scandal's last chapters or another step in a long-running cover-up. ...

In December, Tobin was convicted of two telephone harassment charges. A jury acquitted him of a third, more serious, charge of conspiring against voters' rights.

The Justice Department is recommending that he spend as much as two years in federal prison, which is beyond what sentencing guidelines recommend. Tobin's lawyers, meanwhile, are asking for probation, a fine and community service, while still seeking a new trial. -- Tobin's case: Winding down or heating up?

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