Former Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Anton Vuljaj, who was accused of tampering with an opposing party’s campaign website during the contentious election of spring 2006, was sentenced to six months probation and 100 hours of community service yesterday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.
Vuljaj resigned from MSA last month after pleading guilty to a felony charge of interfering with an electronic device and a felony count of using a computer to commit a crime.
Before announcing the verdict, the judge said Vuljaj was lucky that the court issued him a lighter sentence as Vuljaj’s first felony charge carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $1,000 fine and the second charge carried a penalty of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Vuljaj disrupted the Michigan Progressive Party’s website from his dorm room on March 20 and 21 of 2006, during MSA’s spring elections. The site was attacked using a program that downloaded a single file more than 200,000 times without ever visiting the site. Users frequent MSA party websites the most during election periods because the websites provide a link to MSA’s voting website.
Vuljaj was a member of MPP’s rival party Students 4 Michigan, which went on to win the most seats and the highly-contested presidential election.
In a statement made to the court before his sentencing, Vuljaj said his actions were “reprehensible” and “inexcusable” and that he has apologized to the victims in the case. He also said he would never have imagined that he would be facing felony charges in his junior year of college.
Vuljaj declined to comment following his sentencing.
The former representative’s sentencing brings an end to the 2006 MSA election controversy, which began almost two years ago.
MSA President Mohammad Dar and MSA vice president Nate Fink declined to comment, saying that Vuljaj is no longer a member of MSA.
University alum Robbie O’Brien, who was head of Students 4 Michigan during the spring 2006 elections, said he was glad to see the situation come to a close.
“At this point I think that we’ve all moved on, it was an unfortunate series of events,” he said. “I hope that Tony will be okay, he’s a good guy and I certainly consider him a friend.”