Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Anton Vuljaj and Engineering senior Joel Alan Schweitzer were arraigned yesterday in Washtenaw County Trial Court in connection with a web attack during the 2006 MSA elections.
They each face charges of use of a computer to commit a crime – a felony that carries penalties of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine – and interference with an electronic communication device, a high court misdemeanor that carries penalties of up to two years in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Both students were released on personal recognizance, which means they didn’t have to pay a fine to stay out of jail but could face steeper penalties if they fail to show up at their preliminary hearing, DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said.
The charges stem from a March 2006 incident in which someone attacked the website of the Michigan Progressive Party, an MSA party running for election at the time.
During the March 2006 election period, a computer program repeatedly downloaded a single file on the MPP website more than 200,000 times without actually visiting the site.
The website had a function that could redirect students to the MSA elections website, where students could vote.
The attack happened during the voting period.
Vuljaj belonged to MPP’s rival party, Students 4 Michigan, at the time of the election.
S4M won the presidential race and most representative races over MPP by a slim margin in the election.
The election was marked by scandals that nearly disqualified the top three vote-getting parties, MPP, S4M and the Student Conservative Party.
A preliminary hearing for both students is set for Oct. 31.
Schweitzer declined to comment until the case is resolved. Vuljaj did not return calls for comment.