A New Orleans street magician hired to create the audio

A New Orleans street magician said Friday that a Democratic consultant who worked for Dean Phillips’ presidential campaign hired him to create the audio for what authorities have said may be the first known attempt to use artificial intelligence to interfere with a U.S. election.  Paul Carpenter, who specializes in card tricks and illusions, told The Associated Press he was hired by Steve Kramer to use AI to mimic President Joe Biden’s voice for the robocalls. He said he was surprised to learn later that the call was used in an attempt to discourage people from voting for Biden in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary last month. New Hampshire authorities have said the recorded message, sent to thousands of voters two days before the Jan. 23 election, violated the state’s voter suppression laws. They have issued cease-and-desist orders to two Texas companies they believe were involved. The connection to the Louisiana magician was first reported by NBC News. A spokesperson for Attorney General John Formella declined to comment Friday on whether investigators are looking into Carpenter or Kramer, saying only that the investigation continues. The Phillips campaign denounced the calls and Kramer’s alleged actions, saying the $260,000 it paid him in December and January was for help getting on the ballot in New York and Pennsylvania.  Carpenter said he met Kramer last year through mutual acquaintances, and said Kramer initially hired him to make AI audio using the faked voice of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham before he hired him to make the Biden audio. Carpenter said he thought Kramer worked for the Biden campaign, and said the job was pitched to him as a possible time- and cost-saving measure, eliminating the need for the candidate to go to a recording studio.