STATE HEARS SCHMIDT GENOCIDE CASE
By Jon Craig
8:09 pm | Thursday, August 13, 2009
COLUMBUS – U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt’s Armenian-American opponent probably
made false statements during the 2008 campaign about contributions
she received from Turkish political action committees, a unanimous
three-member panel of the Ohio Elections Commission ruled today.
David Krikorian, an independent candidate now running as a Democrat,
also claimed the Republican congresswoman denied the mass killings of
Armenians during World War I constituted genocide. Schmidt’s attorney
withdrew an elections complaint about that claim, as well as complaints
about three other statements.
The three-person panel Thursday found probable cause that Krikorian
made false statements. Next, fhe full seven-member elections commission
will hear evidence Sept. 3 to decide whether the statements were
false. If they are, it could result in a written reprimand, a fine or,
in rare cases, prosecution.
Donald C. Brey, Schmidt’s Columbus attorney, argued, "It would be
illegal, it would be a crime, for her to take money from a foreign
government. . . It’s a false statement."
Brey denied Krikorian’s claim that Schmidt’s campaign received $30,000
in "blood money" from Turkish PACs and Turkish people.
"We actually wanted them to find probable cause," Krikorian said
afterward, complaining he’s been unable to get Schmidt to discuss
the Turkish contributions during the campaign. "Jean Schmidt brought
these frivolous charges against me. She’s afraid of facing me in an
election. She’s not used to people speaking the truth."
Christopher P. Finney, Krikorian’s Cincinnati attorney, told the
election panel that the Turkish government has poured campaign
money into the U.S. government so it does not recognize the Armenian
genocide of the early 1900s. "We’re actually disappointed we won’t
have a hearing on her being a genocide denier," Finney said.
The debate spilled out into the commission lobby after the hearing:
Krikorian attempted to argue facts of the case with Brey. "You can’t
bring charges and drop them," Krikorian said.
"Actually you can," Brey replied, saying an honorable man, if he
tells a lie, would ultimately apologize.
"I don’t understand why he doesn’t say he misspoke," Brey told the