State Democratic Party calls on AG candidate facing strangulation charge to drop out of race

State Democratic Party calls on AG candidate facing strangulation charge to drop out of race
Omaha police booking photo of Van Argyrakis.

The head of the Nebraska Democratic Party called Tuesday on the Democratic candidate for attorney general to drop out of the race after he was accused of an attack on his elderly father.

Van Argyrakis, 51, is running as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Attorney General Doug Peterson. Authorities have charged Van Argyrakis with strangulation, a felony. He said Tuesday he is innocent.

If convicted of the felony charge, he would not be able to hold office as attorney general.

Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb said the state party has removed Van Argyrakis from its web site and will not spend any resources on his campaign.

“The Democratic Party is disgusted by the actions,” she said. “Violence never has a place in our homes and communities.”

The incident involving father and son occurred the morning of April 8, according to court documents.

Argyrakis’ father, Andreas Argyrakis, 82, told police he came downstairs to get breakfast. His son was in the kitchen and asked him, “Why are you taking all of mom’s money,” and punched him in the face 20 times.

His son tried to get a knife from a drawer, saying, “I’m going to kill you before the cops get here!” according to Andreas Argyrakis’ account.

The elder Argyrakis successfully kept his son from getting the knife, according to a police report. But his son “strangled him with both hands,” pushing him against cabinets, before letting go and leaving the kitchen. The elder Argyrakis then ran across the street and got help from a neighbor. An ambulance took him to Methodist Hospital.

Van Argyrakis said he and his father have had problems for some time.

“My father doesn’t care for me. My father hates me … We have a very strange relationship. It’s kind of a complicated issue,” said Van Argyrakis, who had shared a home near South 35th Avenue and Pacific Street with his father and mother, Nitsa, but has since moved out.

Van Argyrakis is an Omaha attorney who has run before for attorney general and Legislature.

A protection order sought by Van Argyrakis against his father was dismissed last month, court records show. His father was granted a protection order against his son last week.

Van Argyrakis also filed a lawsuit against his father last month over failure to pay for $140,000 in law school loans.

He disputed the version of events in the police report, claiming his father was angry after failing a driver’s test and attacked him.

“Obviously my candidacy has been hurt by this,” Van said. “But this was a revenge assault by him.”

Tuesday, Andreas Argyrakis declined to speak with The World-Herald.

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