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Magician claims consultant for Dean Phillips paid him to create fake Biden audio

A New Orleans magician is claiming he was paid by a political consultant to create an AI-generated Joe Biden voice that was used in voter suppression robocalls to New Hampshire voters.

Paul Carpenter told NBC News that he was hired by Steve Kramer, a Democratic consultant who worked on ballot access for presidential candidate Dean Phillips, in January to make an imitation of the president’s voice urging New Hampshire voters to avoid voting in the primary election.

“I was in a situation where someone offered me some money to do something, and I did it. There was no malicious intent. I didn’t know how it was going to be distributed,” he told NBC News.

Mr Carpenter said he was able to create the audio in less than 20 minutes using Eleven Labs. He told NBC News it only cost him $1 to make the audio and in return, Mr Kramer paid him $120 via Venmo.

He added that he only created the audio and did not distribute it.

The robocalls are currently at the centre of a multi-state investigation.

Shortly before the New Hampshire presidential primary in January, some voters received a phone call from what seemed to be a recorded message by Mr Biden telling them not to vote in the primary and instead wait until November.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said earlier this month that they identified the alleged source of the robocalls from a Texas-based company called Life Corporation and an individual named Walter Monk.

Using traceback technology, the AG’s Election Law Unit informed the Texas-based telecom provider, Lingo Telecom, that the calls were fake, leading Lingo Telecom to suspend Life Corporation’s account.

Mr Carpenter told NBC News he came forward with the confession because he regrets it. His lawyer told NBC News he had “no prior knowledge of what the AI-generated content would be used for” or that it would be in connection with any election activity.

He said he was under the impression Mr Kramer was working directly for the people who he was requesting Mr Carpenter generate AI-generated voices. He claims he was unaware of Mr Phillips or that Mr Kramer was working for him.

Mr Kramer previously worked on Ye’s (formerly Kanye West) 2020 presidential campaign. He was hired by Mr Phillips’s campaign to canvass for the signatures necessary to qualify Mr Phillips for the ballot and produce a robocall call featuring Mr Phillips’s voice.

There is no evidence that Mr Phillips’s campaign directed Mr Kramer to produce or disseminate the fake Biden robocals. Mr Phillips and his campaign told NBC News they would never work with Mr Kramer again and said they might pursue legal action if the allegations are true.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Phillips’s campaign and the New Hampshire Attorney General for comment.


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