News Update: Goow Wins 2nd Ward Election Case; Akhtaruzzaman Calls Ruling Unjust
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 • 10:36am
PATERSON, NJ – The campaign for the vacant 2nd Ward City Council seat will shift into high gear now that a judge has decided to keep in place his ruling that nullified last May’s election results.
In a decision rendered this morning, Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman failed to convince Superior Court Judge Thomas Brogan that he should get a new trial on the grounds that evidence of his revised voter registration records did not come to light during the original proceedings.
Brogan's ruling harshed criticized Akhtaruzzaman's testimony during Tuesday's hearing, calling it "evasive" and "replete with contradictions.''
"Some of the answers he provided were simply implausible,'' said Brogan.
Moreover, the judge said Akhtaruzzaman should have known about the "new evidence" during the original trial and it would not have changed his ruling even if it were brought into evidence.
Brogan last month had nullified Akhtaruzzaman’s victory in May because his listing of an inaccurate address rendered his voter registration invalid, making him ineligible to run in that election. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by former Councilman Aslon Goow,
"As your client remembered the day after the decision,'' Brogan said.
Goow's lawyer, Michael DeMarco, asked Brogan to take into account testimony from Akhtaruzzaman's original attorney, Joe Garcia, in which he said he had asked his client about revisions to voter registration record and was told there were none. DeMarco described Akhtaruzzaman's appeal as an attempt at "another bite of the apple, Monday-morning quarterbacking" that did not merit a new trial.
During yesterday's arguments, Brogan also said that the two witnesses on Tuesday, including Passaic County's elections superintendent, had testified that the revised papers would not validate Akhtaruzzaman's defective registration form.
Akhtaruzzaman showed up 20 minutes late for the scheduled start-time of court proceeding.
So now Goow and Altar will run for the vacant seat with three other candidates- Zalal Uddin, Sonia Torres and Maidal Islam.
A political novice, Akhtaruzzaman's May victory over Goow, a 12-year-incumbent, stunned political insiders and was hailed as a triumph for Paterson's emerging Bengali community. He won that races by almost 500 votes.
Akhtaruzzaman's Bengali supporters provided him with the biggest campaign war chest in the spring and they also have bankrolled his legal case. The ousted councilman said he was not sure how much in legal fees he has rung up so far.
Akhtaruzzaman now has the option of filing an appeal with state appellate courts.