Despite the ASUC attorney general’s announcement that he will drop his investigation of External Affairs Vice President-elect Safeena Mecklai for alleged bylaw violations, the initial petitioner will continue moving forward with her charges.
In April, CalSERVE Elections Coordinator Anais LaVoie filed charges against Mecklai for allegedly violating ASUC Constitution bylaws during the recent ASUC elections. The charges include explicit disobedience of residence hall staff directives, distribution of campaign literature in the residence halls, solicitation in the dining commons and solicitation in the residence halls, according to the hearing brief.
After the charges were filed, the case was automatically deferred to the attorney general’s office per ASUC protocol, said ASUC Judicial Council Chair Suneeta Israni. The attorney general’s office is responsible for conducting investigations of alleged bylaw violations of the ASUC Constitution.
Attorney General Hinh Tran determined Monday that there was not enough evidence for the case to move forward, citing a lack of witness response in the investigation.
“One witness decided not to participate, one witness indicated he did not consent to have his testimony included in the investigation and two other witnesses failed to respond after I made multiple attempts to contact them,” Tran said.
Tran said that he did not feel confident moving forward with his investigation because the allegations could not be substantiated by the witnesses themselves.
Although Tran’s office has decided not to move forward with the investigation, LaVoie has made it clear that she will proceed with the charges, Tran said.
LaVoie asked that the Judicial Council assign Mecklai 15 campaign censures, which would disqualify her from holding office as ASUC External Affairs Vice President.
In addition to a lack of witness participation, Tran said he uncovered additional problems with LaVoie’s petition during the course of his investigation.
“A witness’ testimony was included in her petition, but the witness had already expressed that they did not want their testimony included in the investigation,” Tran said.
He added that only his office, the witness and one other organization has access to that information, and he didn’t know how it was included in the petition. That information should not have been available to LaVoie, Tran said.
The Judicial Council is scheduled to hear the case against Mecklai on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Slottman Hall in Unit 1. But with a lack of participation from the attorney general’s office, Tran said he doubts that LaVoie’s case will be successful.
“For me, the case is not strong enough to get a conviction,” Tran said, “but maybe other witnesses will come forward for LaVoie.”
Mecklai, LaVoie and all the other witnesses named in the petition are currently under gag order and could not comment for this article.
Contact Matt Trejo at [email protected].