Charges dropped against 2 ASUC candidates, 3 candidates plead guilty

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The ASUC Elections Council has dropped recently filed charges against two ASUC candidates, while three other candidates have pleaded guilty to violations.

The case against Student Action senate candidate Karthik Prasad for allegedly spamming voters was dropped due to a lack of evidence, according to Elections Prosecutor Olivia Cusimano. The case against CalSERVE senate candidate Arya Aliabadi, a former Daily Californian photo editor, was dropped in light of evidence that the accusations against him may have been made with malicious intent.

Aliabadi was accused of misrepresenting his status as a member of the American Medical Student Association, or AMSA. Upon investigating, the council found that Aliabadi had been on probation with the organization but was not officially dismissed until the day the charge was filed against him, according to Cusimano.

“It is the opinion of the prosecution, then, that since candidate Aliabadi did, upon receiving dismissal from AMSA, amend his materials and take every necessary step to remove his affiliation from his campaign, that he should be exonerated of all charges,” Cusimano said in an email.

Additionally, the prosecution team is now investigating the claim that SQUELCH! policy director Nisa Dang filed the charges against Aliabadi with what the ASUC bylaws would consider “malicious” intent. Dang is alleged to have filed them before Aliabadi was notified of his probationary status in AMSA.

Dang said she had received notice from AMSA board members that Aliabadi was not in compliance with AMSA rules and was confident that the rules were clear enough that Aliabadi should have known he was not a member in good standing.

“I definitely did not (file charges) with malicious intent,” Dang said. “My entire ASUC career has been built on keeping it accountable.”

Student Action senate candidates James Zamora and Alicia Lau and CalSERVE senate candidate Diana Nguyen, who were among several candidates with spamming charges against them, have pled guilty, according to Cusimano. Zamora and Lau will both accept one censure; Nguyen has not yet reached a plea agreement. Five censures results in the disqualification of a candidate.

The spam email cases against CalSERVE senate candidate Benedict Llave and the Student Action executive slate remain under investigation, Cusimano said in the email. Charges do not amount to a conviction — rather, they can generally be initiated or withdrawn at any time.

Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.