Anuja Rajendra was charged with making false statements during her campaign race for a Michigan state Senate seat.
Misdemeanor charges against Indian American Anuja Rajendra, who ran unsuccessfully for a Michigan state Senate seat, have been dismissed.
Rajendra, a businesswoman and CEO of Bollyfit, was charged with falsely representing herself as an incumbent on her campaign material.
According to Ann Arbor News, the District Judge Elizabeth Hines, ruled that the state law was an unconstitutional infringement of free speech.
Rajendra was charged for two counts and the misdemeanor charges could have resulted in a maximum fine of 90 days in jail and a fine of $500.
Rajendra, who was defended by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, had lost in the Democratic primary race last August. The organization had argued that President Trump has not been criminally charged for his statements that have incited violence and have been untrue. The argument was that the first-time candidate was charged with a crime for making an isolated misleading statement during her unsuccessful bid.
Rajendra was quoted as saying after the hearing: “Words cannot describe the trauma of being thrown into the criminal justice system when you did nothing wrong.”
The Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office hasn’t yet decided if they will appeal Hines’ decision.
“She never intended to convey that she was an incumbent and the fact that she’s being charged with a crime punishable by 90 days in jail, it’s disturbing,” Michael Steinberg, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, had told the news website mlive.com last October.
“The ACLU has a serious problem with the government charging political candidates with crimes for political speech.”
Rajendra ran for the 18th Senate district of Michigan. “I set out on this journey for so many reasons including the desire to expand the table for all of us and to bring more people into our democracy,” she wrote on her Facebook page after losing the primary. “We did that.”