(KTXL) — Shakir Khan of the Lodi City Council was arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail Thursday on suspicion of several election crimes, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor Hothi posted a video to the city of Lodi’s Facebook page in which he says that he was able to speak with Khan at the jail and ask for his resignation. Shortly after the mayor announced Khan resigned, Khan’s lawyer Allen Sawyer told FOX40 News that the mayor’s announcement was “premature” and his client is not resigning from his city council seat.
Hothi says the city is cooperating with the investigation.
Khan is facing multiple felony charges stemming from the 2020 Election, including false filing declaration, registration of fictitious person, voter registration violation, make or deface nomination paper, and vote/attempt to vote more than once.
Khan is being held without bail as of Thursday.
“Our investigation uncovered that councilman Shakir Khan has attempted to undermine, manipulate and violate one of our most fundamental rights here in our country, and that is the right to free and fair elections,” San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow said in a press conference Thursday. “It appears to councilman Skahir Khan has targeted members of his own community, our Pakistani community in the north county. And we are doing everything we can to work with them to make sure that they are protected.”
The city of Lodi said in a Facebook post that it’s aware of Kahn’s charges.
“The City takes challenges to electoral integrity seriously and is consulting with legal counsel to determine our next steps,” city officials said. “The San Joaquin County Registrar Of Voters and the California Secretary of State are responsible for conducting fair, impartial, accurate, secure, and transparent federal, state and local elections.”
Sheriff’s officials say that during an investigation, 41 sealed and completed mail-in ballots were found at Khan’s home and about 23 names were registered to vote at his address and 47 others were registered to vote at other addresses, but used Khan’s email and phone number.
While filing for his candidacy for the District 4 seat, Khan allegedly had his brother fly from Pakistan to change a business to his name, but on candidacy papers, he lists himself as the owner. The sheriff’s office also questioned the signatures Khan gathered for candidacy.
Authorities alleged there was an issue with his signature verification, as Khan’s candidacy report shows signatures that didn’t match signatures on the DMV’s database.
The sheriff’s office shared body camera footage, showing conversations between deputies and people who purportedly filled out ballots in support of Khan. The videos allegedly show people responding that Khan pressured them to vote for him, or Khan signed them himself.
According to the sheriff’s office, two or three people who live outside of the country, along with other people not in District 4 in Lodi, allegedly voted for Khan.
The sheriff’s office says that after Khan found out about the investigation, he posted a social media video of himself in his native Urdu language, telling people to “say that you filled out your ballot if you are questioned.”
The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, Olivia Hale, said at the Thursday news conference that Khan could also possibly face federal charges, since the 2020 local election took place at the same time as a federal election.
The announcement of the election fraud charges comes a day after the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office announced he was “held to answer” on charges related to an investigation and arrest that took place in the weeks before Khan first won an election in 2020.
Khan was arrested on charges related to illegal gambling, money laundering, and tax evasion. Prosecutors in San Joaquin County accused Khan and his two brothers, Zakir Khan and Mohammad Khan, of running illegal internet gambling hubs at two of his businesses.
Khan was released from detainment under an agreement known as ‘Own Recognizance,’ which forbid him from leaving the state. The sheriff’s office said that as a sitting councilman, Khan allegedly posted social media photos that showed him in New York and Hawaii, as well as on a taxpayer-funded trip to Washington DC.
The Khan brothers are slated to return to the San Joaquin County Superior Court on Feb. 21, prosecutors said.