The names of all seven candidates in the race for Queens district attorney will appear on the ballot for the June 25 Democratic primary. The city Board of Elections dismissed Mina Malik’s challenge of the signatures on the petitions of three of her fellow candidates Friday morning.
The BOE found that Judge Greg Lasak and former prosecutors José Nieves and Betty Lugo had thousands of invalid signatures, but each still had more than the requisite 4,000 needed to qualify for the ballot.
“We identified significant irregularities in the challenged candidate’s petitions which needed to be investigated in order to preserve the integrity of this election,” Malik campaign spokesman Ali Najmi said. “The board agreed that the challenged candidates submitted approximately 3,000 invalid signatures each, totaling over 10,000 invalid signatures overall. We respect the board’s decision. Queens deserves a district attorney who will ensure that the rights of all individuals are protected and adjudicated fairly. We look forward to engaging in robust debate with all candidates moving forward.”
The Malik campaign will also be dropping the cases that were filed against Lasak, Nieves and Lugo in Queens Supreme Court.
“This was nothing more than an overzealous challenge from a flailing campaign that saw no other path to victory than to try to hinder democracy and cheat their way into being the only prosecutor on the ballot and we’re glad the Board of Elections saw it for just that,” Lasak Campaign Chairman Bill Driscoll said. “We knew we had enough signatures to qualify and we’re glad they agreed. Now we look forward to continuing to bring Judge Lasak’s message to the voters and show that he’s the experienced reformer we need to lead the District Attorney’s office forward.”
Nieves, a former special prosecutor in the state Attorney General’s office and a combat veteran, said Malik tried to grab headlines with legal tricks to shore up her candidacy.
“It’s unfortunate that Malik engaged in this frivolous challenge as she tried to disenfranchise thousands of voters who signed my petitions,” Nieves said. “It was an attempt to gain the system and that’s not what you want in someone running for district attorney.”
QNS reached out to the Lugo campaign for reaction and is awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, Lasak received the endorsement of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Friday giving the longtime Queens prosecutor and judge a sweep of all law enforcement unions in the race for district attorney.
“We recognize Judge Lasak’s dedication to law enforcement throughout his career as a prosecutor and Chief of the Homicide Division. We support his commitment to being tough on violent, ensuring we keep our neighborhoods safe,” Port Authority PBA President Paul Nunziato said. “As a life-long Queens resident, we know Judge Lasak is aware of the needs of New Yorkers and we believe there is no one more qualified for the position of Queens District Attorney.
Lasak thanked the PA PBA members for putting their lives on the line everyday as they protect the city’s ports of entry.
“They know, like I do, they we’re running for a serious job and we can’t afford to elect a politician,” Lasak said. “We need a District Attorney who can keep us safe while reforming the system. I look forward to joining the Port Authority PBA on the campaign trail.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Councilman Rory Lancman and public defender Tiffany Cabán round out the field of candidates.