Khanna says Honda perjured himself; judge denies Khanna’s motion

Ro Khanna taking questions from supporters
Sept. 22 at a town hall in Fremont.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
ELECTION 2016 |
Ro Khanna believes Rep. Mike Honda committed perjury when he claimed in a lawsuit last week to have never solicited Khanna’s campaign contributors.

Khanna’s attorney issued a response Monday to a lawsuit filed recently by the Honda campaign alleging a “cyber attack” by Khanna’s campaign manager on its digital files containing confidential donor information.

The Honda campaign filed its own response in federal court Wednesday afternoon opposing Khanna’s motion.

The motion sought by Khanna asks to allow expedited discovery and possibly a deposition of Honda, Khanna told the East Bay Citizen. He also asserts four of the six people who claimed they were harmed by Khanna’s campaign emails were actually coerced by Honda to produce false affidavits.

“We want to expedite discovery to depose them and ask them why they lied,” Khanna said in an interview. “Honda committed perjury and encouraged six people to do the same.”

According to the filing, Khanna’s attorney wrote Honda’s claim in the lawsuit that he never solicits supporters of his opponents is false. “Yet he has actively solicited Mr. Khanna’s supporters–a practice he continues to this day–and Honda’s papers explicitly reveal files entitled “Khanna Donors” which Honda continues to access,” wrote Khanna’s attorney David Berger.

Rep. Mike Honda at a social security town hall
in Fremont last month.

In an interview, Khanna refuted the claim by some Honda donors that they did not have prior contact with him, including San Francisco attorney Dale Minami. “He doesn’t know me?” said Khanna. “I sponsored a table in 2011 for an event he organized.” Another sought Khanna out for an internship, he said.

The lawsuit, wrote Khanna’s attorney, is “political gamesmanship” and no evidence was presented by Honda that the alleged incident “caused any tangible harm.” Honda also took no action in the roughly four months after the alleged incident became know to the campaign in late May, according to the filing.

Khanna’s legal move, however, appears centered on forcing Honda’s hand to submit to questioning from his lawyers. The motion, in theory, would push adjudication of the case until after the Nov. 8 election, but buy time for Khanna’s attorney to potentially depose Honda before Election Day, along with the up to six who submitted signed affidavits on the incumbents behalf.

The motion filed by Khanna’s attorney also claims Honda’s attorney has not handed evidence over to them. “This brief extension is necessary because Honda refuses to produce the targeted, minimal discovery necessary to conclusively prove that its allegations are not merely false–they are sanctionable.”

In a response to the motion, Honda’s campaign filed a response in federal court Wednesday afternoon saying Khanna’s attorney failed to adequately give them time to discuss the case this week and is more than willing to share its evidence in a timely manner. “Having rebuffed Plaintiff’s efforts to meet and confer, Defendant Ro Khanna for Congress, Inc. and Defendant Ro Khanna, shamelessly seeks to distract the Court with red herrings and innuendo,” wrote Honda attorney Gautam Dutta.

Honda’s campaign said Wednesday the motion is merely an attempt to obfuscate evidence that Khanna’s campaign manager and the candidate illegally accessed the Dropbox account containing Honda’s fundraising data, or, as the Honda campaign manager Michael Beckendorf called the incident, “a modern-day Watergate.”

“The response is nothing more than Ro Khanna using Republican bait-and-switch tactics to distract voters from his illegal Russian hacker-esque cyber attack on Congressman Honda’s campaign,” said Vedant Patel, Honda’s campaign communication director. “The fact, through clear digital fingerprints, are that Ro Khanna and his staff had access to important and confidential files related to the Honda Campaign and were using these files illegally in clear violation of federal law.”

In addition, Honda’s latest filing asks the court to order Khanna hand over all documents allegedly obtained by his campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi from the Dropbox account containing Honda’s donor information; emails from Khanna’s personal email, specifically on Oct. 3, 2015; and Parvizshahi’s job application with the Khanna campaign. Parvizshahi resigned on Sept. 22, the same day Honda’s campaign filed a lawsuit alleging he violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

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