By Devin Fehely

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A tight race in the Bay Area has gone to court.

Mike Honda’s campaign filed a lawsuit, accusing his challenger, Ro Khanna and his former campaign manager of improperly accessing donor information.

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Both congressman Mike Honda and challenger Ro Khanna appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon.

Khanna has been slapped with a federal lawsuit alleging that his former campaign manager accessed, and in essence stole information about people who donated money to Congressman Honda.

Brian Parvashahee resigned his campaign manager position when the allegations first surfaced a few weeks ago.

The lawsuit alleges he once interned for a company that handled fundraising for congressman Honda and continued to access sensitive information years after leaving the company and joining the Khanna campaign.

“When you do something wrong, you’re hoping that you can say there’s nothing to it. Well, this process is showing us that there’s a lot of things that had to be uncovered,” Honda said.

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Khanna dismissed the lawsuit as a political ploy he says was meant to distract voters from congressman Hondas ongoing ethics investigation.

“This is a final hail Mary pass for Mike, and it didn’t work. And, the judge I think showed great judgment, and recognized our perspective,” Khanna said.

Amid all the mudslinging, San Jose State University Political Science Professor Melinda Jackson says voters will have to decide for themselves who they believe is trustworthy.

“Trustworthiness is a very important component of what voters look for. Voters want a candidate who is a strong leader, who is experienced, who is honest, and trustworthy, and who seems to care about people like them,” Jackson said.

Khanna’s defense team struck a deal, agreeing not to use the names phone numbers or email addresses of more than 400 people who appeared on the list of potential donors for both candidates.

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