LA District Attorney’s Office drops case against USC student charged with rape
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post has been updated to reflect new information obtained through Judge Michael Pastor’s ruling. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue its case against rising USC junior Armaan Premjee, who was arrested on campus on charges of sexual assault last April. Judge Michael Pastor ruled in a preliminary hearing last Wednesday that Premjee would not be “held to answer” for the charges — a legal term that indicates there is not enough evidence to move the case forward to trial. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office also stated on Monday that it will not refile charges against Premjee, though the DA’s office officially has until Aug. 10 to refile.“There is no indication of any withdrawal of consent,” Pastor wrote in his ruling. “There is a very strong indication that the alleged victim in this case was the initiator of any conduct between the defendant and the alleged victim.”Pastor also stated that testimony from the alleged victim’s roommates on its own did not provide sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.“I’m feeling very relieved,” Premjee said. “I never feared that [I would go to prison] because I knew deep down inside that I was innocent.”Premjee also claimed that the woman involved in the situation had been the initiator and that he had been the one to give consent to sexual intercourse.Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested Premjee on April 11 for allegedly sexually assaulting another student in Fluor Tower on April 1. Premjee, at the time a sophomore majoring in business administration, was released on $100,000 bail and pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included one count of rape by use of drugs and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object. The alleged victim was never publicly identified. Premjee’s attorney Harland Braun said the case was dropped after new video evidence surfaced showing Premjee and the alleged victim standing outside Banditos Tacos & Tequila, a bar a few miles from campus. At that time, the alleged victim made hand gestures to her friend that Braun said indicated she intended to have sex with Premjee.“In this case the judge had no evidence other than the girl consented, and the evidence of her consent is a security camera of her signaling to her girlfriend with a sign showing intercourse,” Braun said. “It’s hard to [find] any better evidence that shows consent than that.” University officials confirmed that Premjee is enrolled at USC this upcoming fall.“I’m not nervous at all [to go back],” Premjee said. “I feel confident and am ready to go back to USC.”Deputy District Attorney Lisa Kim declined to comment on the reasons the DA’s office has decided not to refile the case. While the criminal court case has been closed, Braun and Premjee said that there is still an ongoing investigation with the University’s Title IX office. USC would not confirm whether such an investigation is taking place. “Information pertaining to student disciplinary records and proceedings or any matter of student conduct are confidential and protected by federal privacy laws,” the University said in a statement.