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Photo by Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images

Last fall we reported that tech entrepreneur Zain Jaffer was arrested on a variety of awful charges, including sexual assault of his own child. He was immediately put on leave as CEO of mobile video ad company Vungle and the legal process began its slow roll toward justice.

But, in this case, justice is total exoneration.

A judge yesterday dismissed all charges at the request of San Mateo County D.A. Steve Wagstaffe, who tells Axios:

  • Jaffer was taking two prescription medications, prescribed by different doctors, and didn't know that they could cause an adverse psychological reaction if taken together.
  • Suddenly it's the middle of the night and he's acting erratically, including punching his son and father, the latter of whom called the cops.
  • Zaffer also is an avid martial artist, and the "sexual assault" actually appears to have been a martial arts hold he was performing.

Zaffer's statement after the dismissal was extremely diplomatic, and there is no indication he plans to sue either the San Mateo DA's office or the local police department. He may, however, try to regain a management role at Vungle, where he remains the largest shareholder (after Jaffer's arrest, the company promoted CFO/COO Rick Tallman to the top role).

“I was incredibly fortunate that I was able to defend myself through the legal system, but I am aware that many others are not. Moving forward, I plan on examining ways that I can help others who are innocent and are seeking to obtain justice.”  
— Zain Jaffer

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.