Mina Malik is not making any friends among her rivals in the race to replace Queens District Attorney Richard Brown after she tried to knock two of them off the ballot for the June 25 Democratic primary. Malik challenged the campaign petition signatures of three of the seven candidates, all of whom are former prosecutors.
Bill Driscoll, the campaign chairman of former Judge Greg Lasak, pointed to his candidate’s 25 years as a prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office overseeing more than 2,500 homicide investigations before he spent 14 years on the bench.
“We believe that this is a misguided attempt to take the only qualified candidate out of the race,” Driscoll said. “We believe our petitions are valid and that they’ll withstand the challenge.”
As a former special prosecutor in the State Attorney General’s office and an Army combat veteran, José Nieves called out Malik as a “regressive, undemocratic political trickster” whose frivolous legal maneuver demonstrates her lack of progressive values.
“Malik’s strategy is merely to grab headlines with legal tricks to shore up her candidacy because she does not want to talk about the issues and her platform on criminal justice reform,” Nieves said. “She has chosen to attempt to thin out the political field through legal gamesmanship and not a legitimate voting process. Malik is gaming our system of democracy just as she will undoubtedly game our criminal justice system if she is elected District Attorney.”
Malik also challenged the signatures of former Nassau County prosecutor Betty Lugo who filed more than double the required 4,000, according to her campaign.
“It is shameful that people would want to bring back [old-fashioned] political gamesmanship in attempting to eliminate candidates off the ballot on technicalities,” the campaign spokesperson said. “Betty stood above this type of gamesmanship. In fact, Betty would not have dreamed of challenging other candidate’s petitions. She believes the voters should decide on who the next DA would be on the merits.”
The city’s Board of Elections is expected to announce its ballot decision Friday. In the meantime, Malik campaign spokeswoman Antonya Jeffrey was unapologetic.
“As the one true progressive prosecutor in this crucial Queens District Attorney race, it is important to Mina that we maintain the integrity of the election process,” Jeffrey said. “After filing general objections to the petitions of several candidates, our campaign has decided to move forward and file specific objections to the petitions of three candidates whose petition signatures do not comply with the law. Petitions are an indication of viability and community support for candidates.”
She said the Malik campaign had filed over 11,000 petitions, collecting signatures from every assembly district in the borough.
“Mina is not a career politician bolstered by the political machine. She collected her petitions by doing the hard work: going door to door and making her case to the people of Queens,” Jeffrey said. “The people of Queens deserve someone who has fought for justice and accountability her entire career to be the next district attorney.”