Several sets of spam allegations against ASUC candidates retracted

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Update 4/15/15: The spamming charges against Karthik Prasad and the charges against Arya Aliabadi regarding misrepresentation have been dropped. James Zamora and Alicia Lau will plead guilty in their respective cases. Read here for more information. 

After accusing several ASUC candidates of spamming and false representation last week, the ASUC Elections Council decided to retract several allegations.

Those accused of spamming would have violated bylaw 4203 section 5.2. The bylaw prohibits candidates from sending campaign emails unless they have been given permission from the leadership of the organization they are emailing, are a member of the organization or know the recipients personally.

During a meeting Friday evening, the Elections Council voted to retract three accusations against CalSERVE senate candidates Diana Nguyen and Aanchal Chugh, and Student Action executive vice presidential candidate Paul Lee. The council said the bylaw specifically pertains to emails, and the alleged spamming occurred through Facebook Messenger.

As of Sunday night, Elections Prosecutor Olivia Cusimano said in an email that the spamming cases against Cooperative Movement Party senate candidate Sheena Paul, independent senate candidate Sumayyah Din, CalSERVE senate candidate Haruko Ayabe and the collective CalSERVE executive slate had also been dropped.

According to Cusimano, the present accusations are more like an indictment than a criminal conviction, intended as a warning that there is evidence of particular allegations against a candidate. If candidates can produce counterevidence — as the candidates who are no longer accused of spamming did — the allegations will be dropped accordingly.

The Elections Council has not retracted the remaining spamming cases against CalSERVE senate candidates Arya Aliabadi and Benedict Llave, Student Action senate candidates Karthik Prasad, James Zamora and Alicia Lau, and the collective Student Action executive slate.

Aliabadi, a former Daily Californian photo editor, will face two sets of allegations against him — one for spamming and one for allegedly claiming false membership in the American Medical Student Association. During the meeting, however, he said he was a member of the medical association up until the day he received notice of the allegation.

Nguyen also faced two accusations — one count of spamming and one count of using ASUC resources to campaign. Because she allegedly conducted spamming over Facebook, the count of spamming was dropped, but because the people she messaged were ASUC interns, the council still claimed she used ASUC resources.

Nguyen’s party, CalSERVE, plans to take a plea deal on her behalf. Using ASUC resources can result in two to three censures.

During the meeting, the Elections Council also decided to file three separate cases against Lau, as the council received three complaints of her spamming on different days.

“I am unsure of what exactly happened, but I’ll do whatever it takes to resolve this issue,” Lau said in a Facebook message.

According to Cusimano, after election polls closed, a spam message was sent on behalf of the CalSERVE executive slate. CalSERVE party chair Spencer Pritchard said it was unfortunate that “something went wrong.” The allegation against the slate has since been dropped.

Student Action’s executive slate also allegedly sent email spam, but that case has not been dropped. According to Student Action party chair Ryan Kang, the party’s candidates are trained to follow bylaws “both on Sproul and off.”

Cusimano said the ASUC Judicial Council will decide all remaining cases Thursday.

Staff writer G. Haley Massara contributed to this report. 

Contact Whitney Brymwitt at [email protected].

A previous version of a headline attached to this article stated that 4 sets of spam allegations were retracted. In fact, more than 4 were retracted.