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Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There's what may be a big deal surrounding a video. The Daily Cal reports that Michael Sinanian is charging that a video exists exonerating John Moghtader of what he was accused of. I was familiar with the existence of such a video, but I have not seen it, and probably won't. You can see a more detailed description of the video on the news blog.

First, let me say that my stance on this hasn't changed: Not having seen the video, I'm not going to believe what anyone says about it. The details of the fight are still, as far as I'm concerned, unknown. This doesn't mean Sinanian is lying, it just means I have no basis for believing him, so I'm withholding judgment.

If Sinanian is correct, and the video clearly shows that Moghtader did not fight anyone, then the SJP conspiracy is blown. Dina Omar, Dalia Marina, and Husam Zakharia are liars in an extremely pathetic way, as are all witnesses who confirmed the story. Every person who believed them is also somewhat responsible and should probably feel some shame.

But even with the deep moral implications, I don't see the legal case Sinanian is bringing. Yes, folks who wrote false accusations are probably guilty of defamation, and the damage done to Moghtader's reputation is quite tangible. But that's an issue for real court. What authority is Sinanian saying the Judicial Council has?

John sat on this until after the end of the good faith filing period. As I noted before, the Attorney General has never been found to have any greater ability to file charges after the good faith filing period than anyone else. If the charge is a campaign violation, one that Moghtader knew of well before the election, I believe the Judicial Council has to rule that the charge is in bad faith, even if Sinanian is the one technically filing the charge sheet.

In any case, falsifying information in the voters' guide is not normally a disqualifying offense. To count it as five censures, the Judicial Council would have to exercise its discretion in a way it is strongly discouraged from doing in the By-Laws.

(Update: After looking over the By-Laws, I don't think the Judicial Council has this discretion. The violation is punishable by "a maximum of two to three censures")

I haven't seen the charge sheet, so I don't know what else the charge includes. Saying that voters' believed the wrong thing when they voted doesn't strike me as something the Judicial Council can do to overturn the election.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 3/11/2009 11:50:00 AM #
Comments (6)
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Did the recall proponents ever do anything before the J Council? If so, they could get nailed pretty hard for perjury. If you bring in the CalSERVE emails, it's a stretch, but you could argue that SJP et al were acting on behalf of the party, and the whole of CalSERVE could get whacked for the general.
It's not surprising that SJP and CalSERVE did this. It's surprising it took this long for them to get caught. They've been pulling this stuff for years. CalServe is so corrupt.
Anonymous #1, could you explain the perjury thing to me?
Same thing that got the SA slate DQ'ed a couple years ago. It wasn't the chalking that was such a big deal (one, maybe two censures), it was lying about it to the Council that got them whacked.

If, in any of the suits brought to the council before this recall, the proponents of the recall asserted anything happened that the tape shows did not in fact happen, they could be charged with making false statements (say on the voter guide or some other official thing), which I think is an election violation. If they did it before the Council they can get charged with a separate charge of perjury.

I think these are the relevant passages:

IV.12.3.2 Intentionally falsifying information on any Elections Council forms, or in the Voters’ Guide; (this gets you 3 censures)

IV.12.3.1 Willfully violating a lawful order from the ASUC Judicial Council or Elections Council (also gets you 3 censures)

The whole of the Council's JRPs are "lawful order[s]" to people playing in their bit of the ASUC sandbox (hearings and whatnot...well, pretty much just hearings, the rest is just organizing the Council). If you violate the JRP's, IV.12.3.1 kicks in and you get three censures. Pretty powerful. Here's what the JRPs say about lying:

JRP 4.13.3 Witnesses must, to the best of their ability, provide the Council with relevant and truthful testimony.
Subsection 1: Witnesses who knowingly provide untruthful testimony may be found to have committed perjury, and declared in contempt of Council. The Council may issue such a finding at any time.

Ergo, if you lie before the Council, you violate a lawful order of the Council (JRP 4.13.3 which says "no lying"). If you do that, IV.12.3.1 says you get 3 censures. This would be enough on its own, but the point is further buttressed by:

IV.13.3: The imposition of sanctions for contempt of court for violations of campaign rules shall be imposed by the Judicial Council after a hearing at which the offending party appears and is heard.

This also goes along with the subsection above.

Here's the stretch:

IV.12.8.1 All candidates of a party shall be considered equally guilty of a Campaign Rules Violation by an agent of the party acting within the scope of his/her delegated authority.

If SJP, or whoever is doing the lying, is an agent of CalSERVE (which the emails or other evidence may prove) then the whole of CalSERVE is on the blocks for the violation.

Have fun.
Thanks for the analysis. The CalSERVE thing is a huge stretch, because they weren't really campaigning for office. The perjury thing is also a stretch, because the proponents have never been in a hearing. The only thing I can think of is that amicus brief (which I don't recall making factual claims about the fight) and the request to stop Senate business, which was made by the SJPers on the balcony, and not as proponents (and also devoid of factual claims, I believe)
Welcome. I'm not all that down in the weeds on what went down around the recall, just thinking of legal ways to make the video relevant in the ASUC-legal realm. As it stands now, seems to me all are punish'd.

It doesn't matter what the campaign is about (ie office, referendum, initiative, recall), if you break the campaign rules, you get punished by getting censured. If you build up five, you can't hold elective office.
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