A Massachusetts judge has declined to issue a harassment protection order against a state lawmaker accused of choking a political challenger.
The judge on Thursday found there was no sufficient basis to file the order against Democratic Rep. Rady Mom in connection with what happened at a restaurant this month.
Sam Meas made the allegation against Mom in a police report filed May 8.
Meas, who happens to be Mom's former campaign manager, claims that the lawmaker grabbed him by the throat and dug his fist into his rib cage after Meas patted him on the shoulder to greet him at the Pailin City Restaurant in Lowell.
"I felt very fearful, and thought his physical behavior was an act of physical and political intimidation. It reminiscent of the Hun Sen government in Cambodia. It's an intimidation tactic used against the opposition," Meas told State House News Service.
The two men were attending a graduation party for a mutual friend.
The bad blood between the two Cambodian community leaders, however, didn't start at the Pailin Restaurant. Meas said it was the culmination of a series of "bizarre and unusual" interactions between the one-time friends that started on March 15 at a city St. Patrick's Day Dinner.
Meas, a former Haverhill Republican who moved to Lowell about three years and changed parties, is one of three Democrats running against Mom this cycle, along with former city councilor and School Committee member Jim Leary and former city councilor Rithy Uong.
Mom is an acupuncture therapist who in 2014 became the first Cambodian-American elected to a U.S. state Legislature.