Election Commission Rules Against Krikorian

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By Thomas C. Nash
Special to the Mirror-Spectator

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Elections Commission voted to reprimand David Krikorian on Thursday, October 1, for making false statements relating to a 2008 congressional election campaign in which he alleged his opponent took “blood money” to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Republican who represents Ohio’s second district, filed false-claims charges against Krikorian in April, shortly after he announced he would run for the seat as a Democrat in 2010.

In the 2008 election season, Krikorian, in some campaign literature, had accused Schmidt of taking “blood money” to “deny the genocide of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks” as a co-chair of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans.

Just before the election, candidate Krikorian, who then was running as an independent, wrote, “The people of Ohio’s second district will, if they elect [Schmidt] on November 4th, condone her denial of the Genocide of 1.5 million Christians. And, in so doing, be guilty of a crime against humanity as the cover-up is just as bad as the crime.”

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Krikorian’s attorney, Mark Geragos, expressed concern after the October 1 ruling that testimony supporting the allegations was not allowed at either the initial September 3 hearing or the follow-up, including that of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

Edmonds broke a Justice Department gag order imposed in 2002 to give a deposition for the case in August. Among the intercepted communications she says she translated during her stint working for the FBI in the immediate wake of 9/11, is proof of the Turkish government’s illegal influence in Congress, the Department of Defense and the State Department — including efforts to block the Armenian Genocide resolution through bribery and blackmail.

The commission, which during the hearing comprised of four Republicans and one Democrat, voted 5-0 to reprimanded Krikorian for making false statements.

Some of the false-claims charges were dismissed. The claim that Krikorian falsely stated Schmidt took money from Turkish contributors was voted down 3-2, while a claim that he falsely used Federal Elections Commission information was dismissed 4-1.

Geragos said the decisions reflected the partisan nature of the panel.

“It’s obviously a political decision in that [Krikorian] is a Democrat and the three who voted against him are Republicans,” Geragos said.

While Schmidt’s attorney, Donald Brey, said his client had not sought fines or prosecution for Krikorian, which were also possibilities, he said he would expect Krikorian not to make such statements going forward.

“It’s one thing to say ‘I think she should have signed off on this resolution,’ but it’s not fair game to tell people she took money from the Turkish government,” Brey said. “They found that he lied about that. Voters have a right to know the truth.”

Geragos said an appeal would likely be filed “in very short order.”

“[Krikorian] didn’t do anything except tell the truth in a federal election, where a state board has no business,” Geragos added.

In addition to the appeal, another case stemming from Schmidt v. Krikorian may be brewing. Peter Musurlian, an Armenian filmmaker on hand to document the hearing on September 3 told the Cincinnati Enquirer he would file criminal charges against Brey for shoving him as he entered an elevator.

Musurlian could not be reached on deadline.