BREAKING: LA drops charges against Konnech CEO over storing data on Chinese servers

Yu was arrested in October, and accused of storing data on poll workers in a China-based server, which was a breach of the company’s contract.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County prosecutor George Gascon dropped criminal charges against Eugene Yu, CEO of the Michigan election software company Konnech.

Yu was arrested in October, and stands accused of storing data on poll workers in a China-based server, which was a breach of the company’s contract with LA County.

In a statement, the district attorney’s office said that it had dropped the case due to concerns regarding the "pace of the investigation" and the "potential bias in the presentation" of evidence in the case.

"Mr. Yu is an innocent man," said Gary Lincenberg, Yu’s lawyer, adding that "conspiracy theorists" were using the arrest to "further their political agenda."

According to the New York Times, the sudden dismissal of the case leaves questions unanswered about Yu’s activities. 

"The district attorney’s office did not clarify whether the company had, in fact, stored data in China. It was also not clear whether additional criminal or civil charges could be filed against Mr. Yu or Konnech from Los Angeles County or dozens of other counties that use Konnech’s election management software," the New York Times reported.

Yu and Konnech had been at the center of a lawsuit against True the Vote, alongside leaders Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips.

The organization said at a conference over the summer that its team had located and downloaded Konnech’s poll worker data from the Chinese servers, and said that it had delivered the data to the FBI.

Konnech accused True the Vote of hacking and defamation.

The dropping of charges comes just days after Engelbrecht and Phillips were released from jail after refusing to release the name of a confidential informant to judges in the case.

According to Reuters, the District Attorney’s Office had indicated that it had not ruled out refiling charges after a review of evidence.

The office said that it had created a new team of investigators to review the "immense volume of digital data" it has collected in the case.

"I want to thank my prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to eliminating cyber intrusions against government entities and local businesses," District Attorney Gascón said in a statement after Yu was arrested. 

"Data breaches are an ongoing threat to our digital way of life. When we entrust a company to hold our confidential data, they must be willing and able to protect our personal identifying information from theft. Otherwise, we are all victims."

Gascon has faced a recall effort since taking office, with those against Gascon accusing him of being soft on crime. In July, the recall effort had received enough votes to proceed, though in August, it was revealed that they did not in fact have enough signatures, with nearly 90,000 signatures of the 566,857 signatures being from not registered voters and roughly 45,000 were duplicates, according to Los Angeles Magazine.

A hearing has been moved up regarding the recall effort and their signatures to December 6, with the group being granted an expedited review of the signatures.

After assuming office in December of 2020, Gascon immediately began sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system in the city. Such reforms include ending sentence enhancements, doing away with cash bail, prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from being tried as an adult, and refusing to work with immigration enforcement officials.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.


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