SAN JOSE (Diya TV) — Rep. Mike Honda and his rival, Democratic congressional candidate Ro Khanna appeared in federal court Tuesday over the incumbent’s lawsuit accusing Khanna’s campaign of illegally accessing Honda’s donor database.
In court, Honda asked a judge to order that Khanna must stop using donor information that he alleges the Fremont-based attorney stole, and destroy any unauthorized Honda files in his possession, with verification by a court-appointed computer expert. His lawsuit, filed last month, claimed a former Khanna campaign manager who had worked for a Honda consultant continued accessing Honda donor files after joining Khanna.
Khanna, who is making his second bid for Honda’s seat, has insisted that he was unaware of any campaign staffer accessing Honda files and that he already had independently obtained contact information for the Honda donors his campaign had emailed last fall. He has offered to destroy any records that overlapped with information from Honda’s files.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila brought attorneys from both sides to meet in his chambers, where a deal was ironed out. Khanna’s side will provide its database of donors for perusal by Honda’s team, who will check it to see what potential names may have been poached. The Khanna campaign had previously offered to share such information, but Honda’s camp said it was important to have a court order as an enforcer of good faith.
Both sides emerged to the courthouse steps claiming victory.
“I’m really gratified that the process was put into place where we will have Ro Khanna’s campaign turn over all donor information to our attorney,” said Honda as he left the courtroom Tuesday afternoon. “This means he will not be able to pursue our donors through information that came from our own database.”
Khanna called the matter of the injunction an “abuse of the judicial process” for political means.“Mike Honda is down in the polls, he lost the primary, and he wants headlines,” Khanna said. “It’s sad that a man who had such dignity is ending his career in this way.“I think this backfired for him,” he added. “I don’t think we have a tight race. We’re going to win big and this is going to make that win even bigger.”
Vedant Patel, communications director for the Honda campaign called today’s stipulation “a powerful first step”. He said,
“Ro Khanna has finally agreed to cease communication with donors whose contact information was illegally obtained from our files. His campaign’s data will be turned over to our attorney in order to determine what was stolen during his cyber-attack.He said it’s an example of Khanna “doing whatever it takes, regardless of the truth or the law, in his endless pursuit to become a member of Congress.”, said Vedant Patel, Communications Director for the Honda Campaign.
Spokesperson for Khanna Hari Sevugan said, “The judge ordered Honda to agree to the stipulation that we laid out in our filings,” He added, “The court said the Khanna campaign ‘acted in good faith.’”