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.
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