Magician with fork-bending world record says Dean Phillips consultant paid him to make fake audio of Biden

Dean Phillips
Democratic challenger US Rep. Dean Phillips listens to a question during a January 20, 2024, campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
  • A magician with world records in both fork-bending and straightjacket escaping made a confession.

  • He said he was paid $150 to make fake audio of Biden that was sent to New Hampshire voters.

  • He said he made the imitation without knowing the buyer's intended use for it.

On Friday, a New Orleans-based magician said he's responsible for manufacturing the computer-generated replication of President Joe Biden's voice that some voters in New Hampshire reported receiving in January telling them not to vote in the Democratic state primary.

In an interview with NBC News, Paul Carpenter said he was hired to create the audio by Steve Kramer, a campaign specialist recently paid over $100,000 by long shot Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips' campaign.

Though Carpenter admitted to making the copy of Biden's voice, he told NBC he didn't know it would be blasted to voters in a state on a separate side of the country.

"I was in a situation where someone offered me some money to do something, and I did it," he said. "There was no malicious intent. I didn't know how it was going to be distributed."

Carpenter, who holds world records in both fork-bending and straightjacket escaping, said he was paid $150 by Kramer's father —not Kramer himself — for the quick work that only set him back $1 to produce.

Around the time of their collaboration, in January, Federal Election Commission records show that Phillips' campaign paid Kramer $112,353 for "NEW YORK BALLOT ACCESS 2ND PAYMENT" and more than $17,000 for similar work in Pennsylvania.

At this stage in the primary race, Phillips is Biden's biggest official challenger. His campaign's spokesperson railed against the fake Biden robocalls when they were first reported.

Despite having paid Kramer for campaign services, Phillips' campaign press secretary, Katie Dolan, said the trailing campaign did not ask for the Biden audio to be produced.

"We are disgusted to learn that Mr. Kramer is allegedly behind this call, and if the allegations are true, we absolutely denounce his actions," she said.

Kramer told NBC he plans on releasing an essay Saturday explaining the ordeal. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Friday.

Phillips' campaign didn't appear to receive much of a boost — if any — from the fraudulent robocall scam. After weeks of campaigning, Biden trounced him in New Hampshire's Democratic primary via a write-in campaign.

Weeks after the New Hampshire robocall incident occurred, the Federal Communications Commission altered the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to now forbid AI-generated voices in any robocalls, granting state attorneys general more resources to fight against the scams.

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