Council to Continue Hearing Of Recall
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Category: News > University > ASUC
After a three-month recall process that drained roughly $20,000 and consumed countless hours of ASUC Judicial Council hearings, the campus will wait a little longer to see if recalled Senator John Moghtader is to lose his senate seat.
Rather than issuing a verdict, the council decided during their Monday night hearing that Moghtader had to release a hard copy of a video being used as evidence in the case to the council and the defense by 10 p.m. tonight. He says the video exonerates him from accusations that he had behaved violently in a November Eshleman Hall altercation.
The council also ruled that Attorney General Michael Sinanian must offer proof of the video's authenticity when the hearing resumes later this week.
Until now, Moghtader has refused to release the video publicly, citing his lawyer's advice that doing so would jeopardize a pending libel suit against junior Dina Omar. He has not yet decided whether to release the video.
"I'm going to have to think about it," he said. "The J-Council made a ruling that Omar is not a proponent ... and that changes things."
Nathan Shaffer, the primary defendant in the case, will be given at least 48 hours to view the video and prepare his case. He is accused by Sinanian, who filed the case, of knowingly disseminating false statements of Moghtader's involvement in the altercation.
These statements include accounts written by Omar, which were published in The Daily Californian and the ASUC voter's guide.
Omar was thrown out as a primary defendant during the opening motions that began the hearing.
Shaffer successfully repeated his motion-previously rejected by the council-to remove Omar from the list of defendants by saying she was not a recall proponent because she did not personally circulate the petition.
"She made a public statement which was available for anybody to use," Shaffer said. "So I used it."
Sinanian had said Omar was implicated by statements she made that were cited in the voter's guide, but the council ultimately ruled against him.
"The council has agreed to grant a motion of severance ... (and) finds that there is nothing to show us specifically that (Shaffer) in any way delegated something to Ms. Omar," Judicial Council Chair Kiira Johal said.
Shaffer later made a motion to dismiss the entire case-saying the omission of Omar from the defendant list meant the council could not prove that he intentionally falsified statements-but it was rejected.
"There is no evidence that speaks to my intentions," said Shaffer, who said he pursued Moghtader's removal from office without consulting Omar.
Throughout the hearing, Shaffer said Sinanian had not presented the video to him as required by Judicial Council regulations, and therefore the evidence should not be permitted.
"The council is jumping through loops here to allow the evidence," Shaffer said.
Zach E.J. Williams covers student government. Contact him at [email protected]
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