Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CA-47: Tan Nguyen Cleared By State, But Not Yet Feds

Remember Tan Nguyen? Yes, that Tan Nguyen! Well, he's now legally free and clear... Or at least, he is on the state end. Here's what the AP has just learned (via OC Register):

The state Attorney General's Office said today that it will not file criminal charges against a former congressional candidate whose campaign mailed letters warning immigrants against voting.

Tan Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant, was trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez last year when his campaign sent out 14,000 letters to Hispanic immigrants claiming they could be deported or jailed for voting. The controversy erupted just three weeks before the Nov. 2 election. [...]

But they could find no criminal intent, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

“We had to prove that they intended to intimidate lawfully registered voters. We found no evidence that they intended to intimidate lawfully registered voters. In fact, the first line of the letter said, 'If you're a lawfully registered voter, we encourage you to vote.' A lot of people missed that,” Schons said.

So does this mean that the man behind the infamous "Immigrants Can't Vote" intimidation letter is off scott free? Not exactly. The US Justice Department is still investigating him. Here's the latest from Total Buzz:

In the previous item here, I said that former congressional candidate Tan Nguyen has been cleared by the state attorney general. However, I just got word from Cynthia Magnuson at the U.S. Department of Justice that their voting rights section is continuing to investigate the matter.

That was good news to Los Amigos' Amin David, among those who decried the Nguyen tactic.

"We're hoping (the Justice Department) sees through to the intent," David said.

"We were quite upset about that letter," David said. "It did indeed have a streak of meanness, of intimidation. The intent was very clearly to keep people from voting."

Well, that letter really did read like it was meant to scare voters away from their legal right to vote. And clearly, Tan Nguyen was associating himself with the types of anti-immigrant extremists who would like nothing more than to see thousands of legal Latino voters disenfranchised. There's probably still a case against Tan Nguyen to be made.

I guess we'll see whether or not the feds find enough evidence to make one.

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