The attorney for a Lodi city councilman arrested last week on suspicion of voter fraud said Tuesday that his client had not resigned from the City Council, while the city alleges that he did resign and the council seat is vacant.

Shakir Khan, who represent District 4, was arraigned Friday on 14 felony counts in connection with alleged election fraud from the 2020 election, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

Khan’s attorney Allen Sawyer said Tuesday morning that his client has not given up his council position.

Sawyer said it was too early to discuss the facts of the voting case because he had just received evidence about the case, but said the allegations made by law enforcement during a news conference last week were “suspect.”

However, Lodi’s City Council website as of Tuesday showed that District 4 doesn’t have anyone representing the area and displays a message that says,” Resignation received February 16, 2023.”

A screen capture of the Lodi city website taken Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, appears to show a vacancy in the District 4 City Council seat last held by Shakir Khan. The city alleges that Khan resigned his seat amid his legal troubles, while his attorney says that isn’t the case. (City of Lodi)

Mary Campbell, spokesperson for the city of Lodi, alleged that Khan had signed his resignation to Lodi Mayor Mikey Hothi last week and it was registered with the city clerk on the same day.

“He has resigned and has been removed from council,” Campbell said.

Hothi said in a social media video that he visited Khan while he was detained and asked for his resignation as councilman. He alleged that Khan agreed.

Lodi Mayor Mikey Hothi discusses his jailhouse meeting with Shakir Khan.

Khan’s charges included causing or procuring false voter registration, submission of fraudulent registration to California’s Secretary of State, false nomination or declaration of candidacy and fraudulently casting votes.

Deputies alleged during a news conference last week that during the execution of a 2020 search warrant at Khan’s residence, they found 41 mail-in ballots and later learned that 23 people were registered to vote at Khan’s home, and 47 others were registered to vote using his email and phone number.

“The other issue they talked about was ballot harvesting, which is legal in California,” said Sawyer. “They also described he (Khan) was registering people to vote, which is again legal in California.”

Other charges pending

In addition to the councilman’s voter fraud case, he also has another separate criminal case on charges of illegal gambling, tax evasion, and Employment Development Department fraud.

In 2021, Khan and his brother Zakir were arrested and arraigned on more than 50 counts related to illegal gambling, money laundering, unemployment claim fraud and tax invasion.

This month, both brothers were ordered to stand trial on the charges following a six-day preliminary hearing before Judge Richard Mallett.

Shakir and Zakir Khan were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon for formal arraignment in the illegal gambling and fraud case.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.