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Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: 'Deadly Force'

Prosecutor: California DA Dropped Bombshell Election Data Case Because It Might Help Trump

George Gascon
Image CreditKTLA 5/YouTube

For political reasons, Los Angeles DA George Gascon dismissed the criminal charges against Konnech CEO Eugene Yu, says the lead prosecutor on the case.


L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon improperly — and for political reasons — dismissed the criminal charges against the CEO of election software services company Konnech, a governmental tort complaint filed Wednesday by the lead prosecutor on the case claims. That eight-page complaint against Gascon with the county Board of Supervisors further alleges the DA retaliated against his lead prosecutor for opposing the dismissal of the charges — and reveals many more previously unknown and troubling details about the entire case.

On Oct. 4, 2022, the L.A. County district attorney’s office announced Eugene Yu, the CEO of the Michigan-based Konnech, had been arrested in conjunction with criminal charges pending in California. In announcing Yu’s arrest, the DA’s office stated that “under its $2.9 million, five-year contract with the county, Konnech was supposed to securely maintain the data and that only United States citizens and permanent residents have access to it.” However, in violation of the contract, “information was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China,” according to the press release.

Yu was later arrested and extradited to California, where the far-left Gascon eventually dismissed the criminal charges against Yu. L.A. County later also approved a $5 million payout to Yu to settle a civil lawsuit the Konnech CEO had filed against the government.

From a legal perspective, the dismissal of the criminal charges was baffling, as the criminal complaint filed against Yu stated that during the execution of a search warrant at Konnech, the government recovered evidence that employees had “sent personal identifying information of Los Angeles County election workers to third-party software developers who assisted with the creating and fixing [of] Konnech’s internal ‘PollChief’ software.” The criminal complaint further stated that a project manager for Konnech’s contract with L.A. County “confirmed via the messaging app DingTalk that any employee for Chinese contractors working on PollChief software had ‘superadministrative’ privileges for all PollChief clients.”

Politics, however, seemed to explain Gascon’s decision, as soon after news of Yu’s arrest broke, the right-leaning group True the Vote issued a press release, stating:

True the Vote is honored to have played a small role in what must have been a wide ranging and complex investigation. The organization is profoundly grateful to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for their thorough work and rapid action in this matter.

Gregg Phillips, a former board member of True the Vote, claimed he had testified “in the grand jury in Los Angeles County that eventually indicted Mr. Yu.”

As I reported at the time, Gascon’s office initially claimed Phillips played no role in the investigation but later acknowledged Phillips’ report to the Public Integrity Division was “the first step in a thorough independent and still ongoing investigation which ultimately led to the arrest and charging of Mr. Yu.”

The reasonable inference from these facts — that the decision to drop the charges against Konnech was a political one — now has further support by the complaint filed by lead prosecutor Eric Neff.

Neff’s complaint to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, filed by Neff’s attorney as notice of a “governmental tort claim” — a prerequisite to suing civilly — provides a behind-the-scenes summary of the investigation, the resulting charges, and the eventual dismissal. 

According to Neff, Yu, through Konnech, provided services to Los Angeles under a nearly $3 million contract: “As part of this contract, Konnech was entrusted with sensitive and confidential information regarding County election workers…” Following an investigation and the eventual execution of a search warrant at Konnech, Yu’s “computer servers were confiscated,” Neff explained. 

District attorney investigations, according to Neff’s complaint, “recovered several explosive pieces of evidence in the form of electronic communications as well as one cooperating witness — an employee with knowledge of the company’s facially inadequate practices and procedures.” That evidence showed, according to Neff, that “Konnech was sending sensitive [Personal Identifying Information] data to Chinese-owned and operated third-party contractors through Chinese-owned and operated messaging applications.”

In his internal complaint, Neff stated that between Oct. 6, 2022, and Oct. 12, 2022, his entire chain of command in the DA’s office “thoroughly reviewed the investigation and evidence against Mr. Yu.”

“Ultimately, the case was reviewed by the highest ranking non-elected prosecutor in the office,” Neff continued, “who approved the filing of a criminal complaint against Mr. Yu.” That felony complaint was filed on Oct. 13, 2022. 

What happened next was pure politics, Neff’s narrative suggests:

On or about October 17, 2022, DA Gascon was overwhelmingly concerned that since he had inadvertently gained Mr. Trump’s (and the far-right wing, election deniers) support, the outlook of such support by prosecuting Mr. Yu would impact his stance and popularity politically.

Gascon first assigned another attorney, Luke Sisak, to lead the prosecution and supervise Neff. Then, according to Neff, on Nov. 10, 2022, Sisak informed Neff “that management from the DA’s Office had ordered the case to be dismissed.” 

Neff claims he “verbally complained to Mr. Sisak that there was no legal basis for the dismissal,” and “[m]ore importantly, Mr. Neff objected to the dismissal because he had reasonable cause to believe that his participation in the dismissal was against the law,” and “was a politically based dismissal not in furtherance of justice.” The complaint then detailed the various bases for Neff’s concerns. According to Neff, Gascon then ordered his assistant head deputy to appear in court to dismiss the case.

In a letter on Nov. 14, 2022, Neff, as he put it, “reduced the complaints” about the dismissal of the charges against Yu in writing, claiming “that the dismissal was politically motivated.” Neff further objected to Gascon’s decision “because a prosecutor cannot use political gains as a basis for dismissing a prosecution of a criminal matter.”

Two days later, Neff was put on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation, according to the internal complaint Neff filed Wednesday with the county. Nearly a year-and-a-half later, “Neff was informed that the investigation was completed and that no disciplinary actions would be taken against him.” According to Neff, the result of the investigation should be “there was no evidence that Mr. Neff committed any misconduct.” 

Neff was finally reinstated on April 4, 2024. But according to Neff, “in retaliation to the complaints he made concerning the unlawful dismissal of Mr. Yu’s prosecution, DA Gascon removed Mr. Neff from his position prosecuting political corruption to a much less desirable assignment of Welfare Fraud Unit.” That reassignment adversely affected Neff’s working conditions, his prospect for advancement, and other promotions, his complaint alleges.

The internal complaint against Gascon appears to be a precursor to Neff suing the DA’s office in a civil complaint. And if that happens, it seems likely the public will learn much more about what Konnech and Yu did, or didn’t do — and why the DA dropped the charges.

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