(The Center Square) – The Los Angeles prosecutor’s office has assembled a new cyber-forensics team to investigate potential wrongdoing of East Lansing election software company Konnech.
The district attorney last Wednesday dismissed all charges without prejudice against Konnech founder and CEO Eugene Yu. He was arrested and expedited to Los Angeles in October on extortion and grand theft charges for storing poll worker data on servers housed in China.
“We have asked the court to dismiss the case against Eugene Yu without prejudice,” Tiffiny Blacknell, director, Bureau of Communications for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, told The Center Square in an email. “We are concerned about both the pace of the investigation and the potential bias in the presentation and investigation of the evidence. As a result, we have decided to ask the court to dismiss the current case and alert the public in order to ensure transparency in this process.”
The phrase “without prejudice” means the case can be opened again.
As previously reported by The Center Square, Konnech received $306,000 of Michigan Economic Development Corp. funding last November, approximately 10 years after the company pocketed $247,139 from the U.S. Department of Defense between 2010 and 2011.
Blacknell continued, “We have assembled a new team with significant cyber security experience to determine whether any criminal activity occurred. We have also engaged an independent expert to continue to review the evidence.
“Our office has an ongoing obligation to continually reassess the case in light of all of the available evidence. We currently have an immense volume of digital data that will define this case, but the processing of that data will take months. We would not be able to fairly and accurately process and present all of that evidence within the statutory timeframes.
“For all of the aforementioned reason, it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the current prosecution until all of the available evidence can be processed and understood.”
Yu was arrested and charged with grand theft by embezzlement last month in a case that involved the Los Angeles district attorney’s office and East Lansing police. According to court records, Yu faced two felony charges he and Konnech embezzled and stole more than $100,000 from Los Angeles County when it violated the terms of its $2.6 million contract with the county by storing information of election workers on a server based in China.
Under the terms of its contract with the county, Konnech supplied its PollChief software, which is used to manage election-worker payroll, assignments and communications.
The Los Angeles prosecutor’s office was alerted of Konnech’s alleged felonies by Houston-based True the Vote, a group led by Catherine Englebrecht and Gregg Phillips. Both Englebrecht and Phillips were arrested and jailed on Oct. 31, charged with contempt of court because they refused to name their source for the information TTV provided Los Angeles County Prosecutor George Gascón.
Englebrecht and Phillips were released Nov. 7. TTV did not provide a comment to The Center Square before this publication.
Gary Lincenberg, Yu’s attorney, released a statement on Wednesday, which he shared with The Center Square. Lincenberg said the dismissal of charges against Yu indicate his innocence.
“The DA announced in court that the charges were being dismissed in the interest of justice. And there is no doubt that the interest of justice demanded the dismissal. Mr. Yu is an innocent man,“ Lincenberg said.
“Mr. Yu’s good name was tarnished by false narratives from fringe conspiracy theorists who bragged about enlisting Los Angeles prosecutors to further their political agenda,” he continued. “They have since been found in contempt of court and were imprisoned for their contempt. We are grateful that our judicial system still has checks and balances to guard against their dangerous conduct.”