At the sentencing hearing for Justin Gimelstob’s felony battery charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor as Gimelstob pleaded no contest, Judge Upinder Kalra was clear.
If Gimelstob “denied responsibility” in the wake of the resolution of the case, the judge was going to haul him back into his courtroom.
On Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times, that happened.
The Times first reported Tuesday the L.A. County district attorney’s office has set aside the plea agreement, and moved to get the case to trial.
The motion will be heard on May 22.
Intention to ‘move the Court to take action’
In the filing, the People assert an intention “to move this Court to take action in the wake of post-sentencing developments in this case or, in the alternative, to calendar the matter for further proceedings.”
The basis for that are the statements Gimelstob made in the documents for a restraining order he filed against Randall Kaplan, the man he attacked on that Hallowe’en night. Gimelstob filed the request not long after the April 22 resolution of the case – on the same day, in fact.
The statement includes an affidavit from Gimelstob, executed under penalty of perjury.
Lucrecia Boado, the deputy district attorney pleading the case on behalf of Kaplan, said Gimelstob “denied the attack after his appearance before Kalra.”
The statements in the affidavit “appear to be in contravention of this Court’s admonishment during sentencing”. and “the People are hereby providing notice to this Court of conduct that appears to be contemptuous of this Court’s cautionary remarks during sentencing.”
Though a spokesperson, Kaplan had no comment on Monday’s developments.
Gimelstob’s TRO tells his version of events
As Gimelstob attorney Shawn Holley outlined in a letter to the ATP Player Council, Gimelstob was not able to file the restraining order before the plea because of Fifth Amendment considerations.
So he tells his version of the events of Oct. 31 in fairly comprehensive detail in the TRO filing.
The civil restraining order filing contained a number of appendices.
Gimelstob sought the order “because he fears for his safety based upon recent events and warnings from those who know Kaplan’s plans.”
He wrote that Kaplan has had an “abnormal fixation” on him for years, has “made up numerous allegations against him”, and is “obsessed with his destruction”
Gimelstob also claims that Kaplan has
“harassed (him) many times, threatened to ruin him on more than one occasion, and provoked and instigated a physical fight with him which took place on October 31. 2018”.
The restaurant meeting
Contrary to Kaplan’s recounting of the chance meeting between Gimelstob and his divorce lawyer, and Kaplan, at a restaurant six months prior to the Halloween attack, Gimelstob said it was Kaplan who threatened him – not the other way around.
Gimelstob wrote he said “hello”, after which Kaplan “immediately became aggressive and antagonistic”, and “began pointing his finger directly and closely (within an inch or so) of his face.” Gimelstob wrote that Kaplan then told him “in a very aggressive manner” that “I will put you in jail for the rest of your life.”
He also claims that his divorce lawyer received a text from Kaplan the following day. The alleged text mentioned that Kaplan “has substantially more money” than Gimelstob does. and that he could be “incredibly hurtful” to him if he “was called as a character witness in a custody trial.”
Kaplan’s version of events was quite the opposite. In his recounting, it was Gimelstob who claimed he was “going to f….g kick your ass and kill you.” And that Gimelstob added, “I’m rich. And she’s the best attorney, and she’ll get me off of anything.”
In response, the motion filed claims Gimelstob “appears to be asking the Court to consider prior incidents in support of an argument that he acted in self-defence in the commission of the offense to which he pled no contest to this Court.
“The above statements are the legal equivalent of denying responsibility. The defendant is providing a legal excuse for his actions and is proclaiming that he is not guilty because he acted in lawful self-defence.”
The Halloween incident
As Gimelstob details in the restraining order request, Gimelstob said the incident “was over within seconds” – in sharp contrast to Kaplan’s version, which described a beating that went on for three minutes.
“Kaplan appeared clearly angered and embarrassed that I had gotten the better of the fight. Thereafter, I am informed that Kaplan set out to misrepresent and obfuscate what had happened that evening, including making numerous misrepresentations about the brief altercation”.
Judge’s instructions clear
Judge Kalra was clear during the April 22 proceedings about what Gimelstob needed to do, in terms of talking about the case.
“Whatever was said before – they have the First Amendment right – but as you know, after a plea is entered, if a person goes on the courtroom steps and denies responsibility, the court can bring that person right back in and set aside that plea,” he said, according to the court transcript.
“If it’s brought to my attention by the people, if we go forward, that your client is denying responsibility, there are consequences,” he added.
It’s been fairly clear that Gimelstob has long wanted a chance to fully tell his side of the story.
It appears he may now get that opportunity.