What’s Next for Goow vs. Akhtaruzzaman?
Saturday, October 13, 2012 • 12:53pm
PATERSON, NJ – Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman said he would decide within a week whether to file an appeal of last week’s court decision in a case that resulted in his ouster from Paterson’s 2nd Ward City Council seat.
“We’re still talking about it,’’ said Akhtaruzzaman. “We’re exploring all the options. Maybe we’ll have a better idea next week.’’
That undecided posture contrasts with Akhtaruzzaman’s assertion moments after Wednesday’s ruling that he would definitely appeal what he characterized as a miscarriage of justice. Moreover, his comments on Friday also contradict a story on northjersey.com that day that quoted the former councilman’s lawyer as saying Akhtaruzzaman would not appeal.
Those contradictions reflect testimony in the trial itself that was often inconsistent.
Akhtaruzzaman’s lawyer, Theodore Kyles, on Friday referred questions about a possible appeal to his client.
By taking his time in deciding whether to appeal, Akhtaruzzaman seems to be allowing the November 6 special election to proceed on schedule. One of the court motions on which Akhtaruzzaman lost last week was a bid to restore him to the council seat until the litigation is resolved. If he had prevailed in that attempt, the special election would not have been necessary.
Akhtaruzzaman could still seek to have the special election canceled if he filed a request seeking “emergent relief” from the state appellate court. But as days pass and the election date comes closer, that becomes less likely.
Goow and Aktaruzzaman will run for the vacant seat with three other candidates- Zalal Uddin, Sonia Torres and Maidul Islam.
It was Goow who filed the lawsuit that ended with Aktaruzzman’s election victory being nullified on the grounds that his voter registration was invalid.
Aktaruzzaman stunned political observers when he beat Goow, a 12-year incumbent, by almost 500 votes in the May council election. He became the first Bengali to win public office in North Jersey.
The dynamics of the special are somewhat different, however, because two other members of the Bengali candidates are running, which could split the votes from that community.