Recalled judge asks for help paying court judgment

Judge Aaron Persky holds a campaign sign in Los Altos Hills. AP photo by Jeff Chiu.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

Recalled Judge Aaron Persky is asking his supporters for help covering the $135,000 he owes to attorneys hired by Michele Dauber’s recall campaign.

Persky, a Los Altos Hills resident, sent an email to his supporters on Tuesday asking that they donate to his campaign finance account, which can be accessed at retainjudgepersky.com.

“On June 5, 2018, I was recalled by voters after a well-funded, misleading and extremely negative campaign by recall proponents,” the email reads. “My campaign, which stressed the vital importance of an independent judiciary, received broad support from the legal community in Santa Clara County and beyond.” Persky told the Post yesterday that he’s raised $47,000 and owes the full amount by Dec. 31.

With $378,000 worth of legal representation from the San Jose law firm McManis Faulkner — which will not be billing Persky — the former judge sued the recall campaign and the Santa Clara County registrar of voters.

Persky’s lawyers claimed that because Superior Court judges are appointed by the governor, the recall measure would have had to be placed on the ballot by the Secretary of State, not the county registrar.

But Persky lost the lawsuit, and in October, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kay Tsenin ruled that he would have to pay $163,000 in attorney’s fees to the lawyers for the recall campaign.

That was later lowered to $135,000 when Persky agreed to pay by Dec. 31 and that he wouldn’t appeal the attorney’s fees motion.

“It just brings closure to the process,” Persky told the Post.

Persky said in the email to supporters that the state Fair Political Practices Commission had “informally advised” him that any funds used to pay his attorney’s fees would need to go through his campaign committee, which raised $840,000 in campaign contributions before the recall vote.

Persky noted that that sum includes the $378,000 in free legal services from McManis Faulkner.

No pension

Persky, 56, will not receive a pension for his service as a judge. Because of the age at which he was appointed, he would have had to keep the position until age 65 to get a pension.

Persky hasn’t announced what he’s doing now that he’s out of a job, but said he’s considering writing a book about the recall because, he said, “there’s a story there.”

“I haven’t started writing anything,” Persky said. “Some people have suggested that I do it… I’m weighing my options.”

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