Independent ASUC Senate candidate Nelson Ke disqualified from electoral race

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Joshua Jordan/File

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Independent ASUC Senate candidate Nelson Ke was disqualified from the electoral race Tuesday night after he received seven censures from the Judicial Council for violating two bylaws that deal with the reportage of accurate information.

The council chose to deliver a default judgement and found Ke guilty of all charges because he failed to attend his own trial. Ke was originally charged on March 19 by Elections Prosecutor Ken Lohatepanont, who began his investigation of Ke after parts of an election violation complaint Ke filed against fellow candidate Andy Theocharous were found to be false.

Although he was not physically present during the trial, Ke asked his counsel, ASUC Public Defender Suryah Aryaei, to read out an email statement at the trial. In Ke’s statement, he described his regret for not being there but said he had “full confidence” that he would win the case.

Ke declined to give additional comment about the outcome of the hearing, but he said in a previous email to The Daily Californian that his complaint was not personal in nature but had been submitted purely to ensure a fair election.

“The charge, together with the subsequent investigation, was born out of the concern given to campaign fairness and the suspicion that Candidate Andy might have violated the campaign laws,” Ke said in the email.

Lohatepanont charged Ke with “filing malicious, frivolous, misleading, or bad faith charges or complaints,” which in turn violates another bylaw he agreed to before submitting his original complaint against Theocharous — the former is a Class A violation, which can receive up to five censures, and the later is a Class C violation resulting in up to two censures. A candidate can receive up to five censures before they are disqualified from the race.

Lohatepanont said Ke’s case was dragged out because he did not cooperate with the investigation.

“Most meetings don’t get so far because of a plea deal,” Lohatepanont said. “In this case, I wasn’t able to conclude a plea deal of any sort because he didn’t respond to my emails.”

Though this is the second elections-related judicial hearing this semester, Ke is the first candidate to be disqualified this elections season.

Contact Alexandra Stassinopoulos at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AE_Stass.