Los Angeles County dropped criminal charges against the top executive of an elections technology company on Wednesday, bringing to an abrupt end an unusual case that became the focus of Americans who distrust the country’s electoral system.
The district attorney’s office said in a statement that it had dropped the case against the executive, Eugene Yu, because of concerns about the “pace of the investigation” and the “potential bias in the presentation” of evidence in the case. The office said the county had assembled a new team to “determine whether any criminal activity occurred.”
The prosecutors did not respond to questions about the decision.
“Mr. Yu is an innocent man,” Gary Lincenberg, Mr. Yu’s lawyer, said in a statement, adding that “conspiracy theorists” were using the arrest to “further their political agenda.”
Last month, Los Angeles prosecutors accused Mr. Yu, the chief executive of Konnech, a small election software company in Michigan, of storing data about poll workers on servers in China, a breach of the company’s contract with the county. The charges related only to poll worker data and had no impact on votes or election results.
Mr. Yu, 64, has repeatedly denied sending data to China. The New York Times published an article about the claims and his denials as a part of its coverage of misinformation and elections. Los Angeles prosecutors arrested Mr. Yu the day after the article was published.
The abrupt dismissal left several unanswered questions about the case and Mr. Yu’s suspected activities. The district attorney’s office did not clarify whether the company had, in fact, stored data in China. It was also not clear whether additional criminal or civil charges could be filed against Mr. Yu or Konnech from Los Angeles County or dozens of other counties that use Konnech’s election management software.
Konnech has about 20 employees in the United States and about 20 customers. It plays no role in the tabulation or counting of votes in American elections. But some election deniers have suggested that Konnech gave the Chinese government a back door to manipulate America’s election process.
True the Vote, an organization that claims to be devoted to uncovering election fraud, said at a conference this summer that its team had found and downloaded Konnech’s poll worker data from servers in China. It provided no evidence that it had downloaded the data, but said it had delivered a hard drive to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Konnech sued True the Vote, along with Catherine Engelbrecht, its founder, and Gregg Phillips, an election denier and longtime associate of the group, accusing them of defamation and hacking. The pair were briefly jailed last week after refusing to release the name of a person involved in the suspected hack of Konnech’s data.
In an earlier court filing, Mr. Phillips said he had spoken with the grand jury in Los Angeles County that eventually indicted Mr. Yu.