Gimelstob pleads “not guilty” in L.A. court

Embattled ATP Tour board member and broadcaster Justin Gimelstob pleaded “not guilty” to one charge of felony battery Wednesday morning in a Los Angeles court.

The arraignment was the first official step on the way to a potential trial for the 41-year-old American.

Gimelstob is accused of inflicting a savage beating upon 50-year-old venture capitalist Randall Kaplan. The incident took place during a family Halloween event in his Brentwood neighbourhood Oct. 31.

The Telegraph, which has been all over the Gimelstob story despite London, England being a considerable distance away from L.A., had a reporter on site for the hearing.

The newspaper published this quote upon his exit from the courthouse.

 “Now that the court proceedings have begun, I can start my vigorous defence, and that’s what I look forward to,” Gimelstob said.  “I look forward to defending myself. There’s a whole other side to this story and I look forward to it coming out.”

No comment from Kaplan

Justin Gimelstob arrested: L.A. Times

Kaplan himself was not in attendance at the arraignment.

A spokesperson released this statement on his behalf.

“We are pleased that law enforcement is moving forward forcefully by filing a felony violation of Penal Code section 243(d) – battery with serious bodily injury – to see that justice is served in this matter.

“Randall Kaplan was pushing his two-year-old child in a stroller with his wife on Halloween when, without warning, he was ambushed from behind tackled to the ground and struck approximately 50 times on the head and face.  Mr. Kaplan is still being treated by a doctor for his injuries. 

There is no justification for this serious and violent crime.  Mr. Kaplan expresses his gratitude to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for their thorough investigation and  professionalism, and he expresses his appreciation to the many witnesses who came forward to speak with law enforcement concerning the attack.”

The arraignment even made the Hollywood gossip site TMZ.

Let’s go to the video

The Telegraph also reported an interesting detail from the judge’s instructions during the hearing.

rivals
Gimelstob’s friend John Isner, whom he has coached off and on through the years, has expressed his wish that the process play out before passing judgment. Isner also is a member of the ATP Player Council.

The L.A. prosecutor’s office handed over a video of the alleged incident to Gimelstob’s defence lawyer, Shawn Holley, as part of the normal discovery process.

It also filed a motion to keep the video private – a notion that the judge in the case, Keith L Schwartz, quickly quashed.

“The case law is completely against you,” Schwartz told the prosecutor about the request to keep a video private between parties that are not related or in a relationship, per the Telegraph. “I’ve been over this with your (department) for the last five years.”

As a result of that, any further developments in the case won’t occur until Jan. 31, so that the defense has time to study the video. 

Gimelstob statement

A few days ago, the Telegraph noted the filing of an affidavit in support of Gimelstob from his friend Mardy Fish.

Mardy
Gimelstob friend Mardy Fish, who appears to have been there on Halloween when Gimelstob and Randall Kaplan for the incident on Halloween, provided a statement to court concerning the state of mind of Brandon Gimelstob (Gimelstob’s five-year-old son) that evening.

This was not related to the battery case. Rather, it was filed a few weeks ago as part of Gimelstob’s ongoing divorce and custody action.

In the wake of Gimelstob’s arrest, we’re told estranged wife Cary Sinnott returned to court to file for full custody. It wasn’t granted.

But the Fish statement relates to the events on Halloween, principally concerned with detailing young Brandon’s state of mind during the events.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Gimelstob posted a lengthy and detailed statement to his social media regarding the case at hand.

Upon advice of his attorney, Gimelstob is not commenting on the case that is about to wind its way through the courts. 

But he does offer details relating to several other recent incidents. Those were laid out in the Telegraph a few weeks ago.

In the statement, Gimelstob refers to “the long history of Mr. Kaplan’s behavior and toxic interference in my life.”

A lengthy, contentious divorce

The Gimelstob-Sinnott divorce situation has been ongoing ever since Gimelstob’s wife filed all the way back in July, 2015. The two were married in 2012.

And it shows no sign of ending any time soon. The list of documents filed and motions put forth is endless.

Most notorious among them was the 22-page temporary restraining order filed by Sinnott fairly early in the process.

Gimelstob “vehemently denies” ever committing “any act of domestic violence” against his Sinnott.

“In fact, Ms. Sinnott, with the assistance of her father, used the threat of domestic violence in an attempt to obtain my agreement on certain custody and financial matters during our dissolution proceeding,” he wrote.

Gimelstob cites several findings by the family court, including the fact that his wife used the threat of getting restraining orders to “get his agreement on certain issues” on several occasions. Gimelstob also filed for a restraining order.

Several events interconnected

All of those orders eventually lapsed a few months later. There is no current restraining order in place mandating Gimelstob to keep his distance.

“Ms. Sinnott and I ultimately stipulated to mutual stay away and other orders. In addition, Brandon has always been safe and well cared for while in my custody, and Ms. Sinnott and I continue to maintain joint legal and equal physical custody of Brandon,” Gimelstob wrote.

Gimelstob maintains that in the incident at the restaurant involving another friend of his wife, Kris Thabit, he was the first to file for a restraining order. The details of the incident, from his standpoint, were confirmed by a third party. it was not a friend of his; rather, it literally was a passer-by on the street. 

Tennis.Life has seen closed-circuit video of that event that indicates that Gimelstob was the one who followed Thabit and his companion out the door as they exited the restaurant. The video does not show what actually occurred on the sidewalk outside.

Fighting on the paddle court

As for the incident on the paddle court in 2017 (which resulted in all four players on the court being defaulted out of the tournament), Gimelstob wrote that it was he who was attacked.

Gimelstob quotes statements by two witnesses to the incident.

Dr. Daniel Levi, professor of Pediatrics at UCLA: “The attack was shocking and unprovoked by Justin and his partner Danilo. Neither Justin nor his partner made any homophobic or any other offensive comments during the match.”

Partner Danilo Kawasaki: “In light of the recent rumors, I also want to declare that I was with Justin all day and by his side on court in every match on October 7, 2017. I didn’t hear Justin make any homophobic remarks or comments that could have been interpreted as such.”

And, one final comment from Gimelstob.

“I am far from perfect. I have flaws and have made mistakes in my life; however, I am not the person that has been depicted in the past month.  I look forward to working through these challenges.”

So far, the ATP Player Council is standing by Gimelstob. It remains to be seen whether that stance changes, now that the charges have been officialized.

He has taken a leave of absence from the Tennis Channel while he sorts through his personal issues.

Gimelstob restraining order continued to Mar. 20

The first official procedure following broadcaster and ATP Board member Justin Gimelstob’s arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault Halloween night took place Monday morning in a Los Angeles courtroom.

It was a hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order filed by plaintiff Randall Kaplan the day after his altercation with Gimelstob would be continued.

Gimelstob was not in court. Attorney Shawn Holley attended on his behalf.

The judge determined the restraining order was to remain in place until March 20, 2019. Nothing unusual there, but with a few small caveats that reflect how the two men move in similar circles and even live close to each other.

Gimelstob’s son Brandon plans to go to the same school that some of Kaplan’s children already attend.

And so while the restraining order remains in force, Gimelstob will be restricted to the lower school campus of the school. The lower school is four blocks away from the campus where Kaplan’s older children attend classes. (Gimelstob would have no pressing reason to go to the other campus, anyway).

Gimelstob will, however, have to get his banking done at a different branch than his own. As coincidence would have it, his bank is located in the same building as Kaplan’s office.

Justin Gimelstob arrested: L.A. Times

Preliminary hearing next Wednesday

The next, and bigger step is the preliminary hearing. It’s set for next Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The charge remains suspicion of felony battery. No doubt Gimelstob’s attorney will work to get the felony charge downgraded to a misdemeanor. If she’s unsuccessful, Gimelstob would be charged and then enter a plea.

Holley has already stated that Gimelstob “unequivocally and absolutely denies ever engaging in domestic violence or homophobic behavior of any kind.  Any suggestions to the contrary are false.”

Gimelstob, lawyer deny charges

Gimelstob, lawyer deny charges

The next step in the legal proceedings for ATP Board member and broadcaster Justin Gimelstob happens Monday at 8:30 a.m.

That’s when a hearing will take place in a Los Angeles, Calif. courtroom regarding the temporary restraining order filed by Randall Kaplan.

Kaplan is accusing the 41-year-old former player of assaulting him in front of his wife and two-year-daughter on Halloween night.

The following day, the 50-year-old venture capitalist filed for the restraining order.

On Nov. 21, Gimelstob turned himself into police and was booked on a suspicion of felony battery charge. The Los Angeles police released him on $50,000 bail. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Justin Gimelstob arrested: L.A. Times

Public reaction virulent

Reaction from some tennis fans on social media has been vocal. The comments largely have been the not-atypical “guilty until proven innocent” calls to action.

Among them are Twitter entreaties to Tennis Channel and the ATP to relieve Gimelstob of his duties – some because they simply dislike his on-air work. As well, some are making direct calls to Gimelstob’s Tennis Channel colleagues and other prominent players and media types to denounce him.

Guilty in the court of public opinion

The group objective seems more to have Gimelstob lose his various tennis-related jobs than anything related to paying the legal consequences for the actual charges levied against him in the Kaplan case.

That reaction, along with a report in the Telegraph outlining an unrelated run-in on a paddle tennis court in Los Angeles in 2017, led Gimelstob’s lawyer Shawn Holley to issue this statement to tennis.life and other media Saturday.

“Mr. Gimelstob did not intend to respond to the recent media coverage about him and instead focus on his family and career.  However, he now feels compelled to do so based on the nature of numerous blatantly false allegations.  Mr. Gimelstob unequivocally and absolutely denies ever engaging in domestic violence or homophobic behavior of any kind.  Any suggestions to the contrary are false,” the statement read.

“While Mr. Gimelstob cannot respond to every allegation here due to ongoing legal matters, many are baseless, contradicted by neutral third parties and court rulings, and driven by unfortunate personal vendettas.  Mr. Gimelstob looks forward to clearing his name in the appropriate forums and moving on with his family and career.”

Gimelstob also denies

Gimelstob’s lawyer also represents celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan. She also was part of the “Dream Team” that represented former football star O.J. Simpson in his murder trial back in 1992.

In a brief conversation with tennis.life Friday, Gimelstob denied the events that allegedly took place on the paddle court, as detailed in the Telegraph story. That story was buttressed by on-the-record statements by several alleged witnesses to the incident.

Gimelstob said it was “a complete fabrication”. And he added he had several sworn declarations from others to that effect.

Hewitt alone in call to ATP

Publicly, only former player and current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has made a call for any type of action by the ATP.

It’s no secret that Hewitt has never been president of the Gimelstob fan club.

Player Council to discuss Gimelstob matter

Gimelstob

The ATP Player Council, whose president is Novak Djokovic, plans several conference calls in the next few days to hash out the situation.

A majority vote among the 10 members would be required to oust Gimelstob. But the council, as a group, are said to be highly satisfied with the former player’s advocacy for them on the ATP Board.

When the council voted to oust Roger Rasheed last month, the vote was 7-3. 

But as a result of that, the council finds itself in a bind. Technically, it already is one vote down because of Rasheed’s departure, although an interim replacement for Rasheed already is on board.

David Egdes has been tipped until a vote can be held on a permanent replacement.

Egdes was a player representative on the ATP board for a decade. His last three-year term expired as new members Rasheed and Alex Inglot came aboard in Jan. 2018.

Crucial time for ATP Board

Egdes’s main job is as a senior vice-president at Tennis Channel.

Egdes giving ATP Tour vice-president Kevin Anderson an award for reaching the top 10, back in 2015. He is stepping in to fill the void left by the ouster of Roger Rasheed as player representative on the ATP Board of directors.

That, of course, always made Egdes an interesting choice to serve as a player representative.

Not that he doesn’t have splendid qualifications to serve in any capacity. A tennis all-American at Trinity, he’s also a lawyer.

Egdes also, although not directly, is Gimelstob’s superior at the network.

(Yes, just another example of people in tennis serving many masters. Although, to be fair in this particular instance, nearly every board member of any organization has a “real” job. Egdes was compensated $100,000 during his final year on the board. That’s similar to most of the other members with the exception of Gimelstob, who does other producing work for the ATP and earned significantly more).

These are critical times for the ATP Player Council. The players are juggling several issues including its call to tournaments for an increased share of the revenue. There also is the tug of war between the ATP and ITF over Davis Cup, the proposed new ATP Cup and the upcoming Olympics.

You wouldn’t expect them vote him out. Although perhaps, as he did with with Tennis Channel, Gimelstob might take a leave as he sorts out his personal situation.

For the ATP Tour board itself to oust Gimelstob would require a unanimous vote from the other five board members. Notably, IMG senior vice-president Gavin Forbes, one of the tournament representatives on the board (Americas) has long been a fervent Gimelstob supporter. And the two are said to be close friends.

More will be revealed on Monday.

Frantic Friday at Wimbledon: The Supporting Players

It was Friday the 13th. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that a few wacky events took place at Wimbledon.

But what transpired, from 1 p.m. when John Isner and Kevin Anderson walked onto Centre Court until 11:05 p.m., when Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic walked off with unfinished business, was beyond anyone’s imagination.i i

Chapter 4 is called The Supporting Players

WIMBLEDON – With short points, changeovers and time between points, there are plenty of opportunities for shots of people other than the two main characters during a six hour, 36-minute tennis match.

Front and centre among those highlighted was Justin Gimelstob.

A broadcaster, talent manager, television producer, student, father – and member of the ATP Tour player council – the 41-year-old American former player has no issues with putting himself front and centre in the business of tennis.

He gets a lot of flack for that on social media – never more so than on Friday.

Back on Team Isner

Gimelstob coached John Isner for a couple of years in 2015 and 2016. And he returned in 2018, although not in full-time role as he shares duties with David Macpherson.

Even back in their first iteration, Gimelstob was big on Isner hitting the ball harder within boundaries, returning harder, and coming to the net to finish points off.

That’s what the 33-year-old did this Wimbledon, and it nearly got him to the men’s singles final.

But it was Gimelstob’s performance in the player’s box, shown repeatedly on the television broadcasts, that had social media quite in a tizzy for awhile.

Dressed in a suit and tie with aviator glasses (next to the more tennis-attired Macpherson), Gimelstob was standing and pumping his first on virtually every point.

In fact, once, he stood up, pumped his right fist – while still holding on to the hand of his seated girlfriend with his left hand. That’s multitasking.

It also looked as though he and Isner were exchanging hand signals among other coaching methods which, as we all know, isn’t kosher.

As a member of the Player Council, for which Anderson is vice-president and to which Isner was just elected for a return term, Gimelstob cheering on one player at the expense of another is just another of those myriad conflicts of interest tennis seems to have little stomach to even address.

Never mind the coaching thing.

But, as Gimelstob pointed out to your Tennis.Life correspondent during a chat a few years ago, nothing in tennis prevents him from putting his fingers in as many pies as he can and until it does, he’ll keep doing it. Can’t argue with that chutzpah.

He has a lot of yellow cards in his file already, for things he’s said that way crossed the line. But he was probably loving every moment of it on Friday. 

Except for the ending, of course. 

Legends matches postponed

Gimelstob, paired with Brit Ross Hutchins, had legends matches scheduled the same day as the last two Isner singles matches. 

So both times, they had to postpone. He and Hutchins will play Xavier Malisse and Colin Fleming Saturday. And, with the round-robin format, with Gimelstob and Hutching at 1-1 and Malisse and Fleming at 2-0, it’s essentially a match for the title.

So Gimelstob may end up with the hardware after all.

Cicak, the marathon woman

supporting
Was she bored? Tired? Needing a comfort break? Annoyed? Cicak’s poker face was ON for the 6h36 men’s semifinal Friday.

Respected chair umpire Marija Čičak got the assignment for Anderson vs. Isner.

She had to know that it was going to be a butt-buster. But there’s no way she could have known just how much of a marathon it was going to be.

Hopefully she got some tips from fellow umpire Mohamed Lahyani, who was in the chair for all three days of the Isner vs. Mahut marathon back in 2010, which ended up 70-68 in the fifth set.

As far as we could tell, she never needed a bathroom break during the six hours and 36 minutes it took to determine a winner.

That kind of endurance requires a fair bit of liquids management.

It also requires a pretty comfortable perch to sit in.

If she was in any kind of distress, it never showed.

So Čičak gets the “best supporting actor” nod for Saturday.

We’ll give Gimelstob the Razzie.

Mrs. Isner – a trouper

supporting

Madison McKinley, who married John Isner last December, is seven months  pregnant with their first child.

Despite that, and no doubt rather uncomfortable, Mrs. Isner didn’t miss a moment of her husband’s valiant attempt to reach his first Grand Slam final.

She was kind of hard to notice, with Gimelstob front and centre in the Players’ box. 

But her support was truly an impressive thing.

It’s a good thing she never left. The match was so long – and so stressful – that her husband might well have wondered if she went into labor and headed off to the hospital while they were in the middle of the fifth set.

The BBC – spelling impaired

It was a long day for everyone.

But still, as the BBC put up a graphic showing now Novak Djokovic passed time of the time in the locker room waiting for his match with Rafael Nadal, they went full-out spelling fail on his Twitter handle.

supporting

You know that the legion of Djokovic fans thought this was a deliberate affront.

In truth, the “r” and “n” side by side can easily be mistaken for an “m”, if you look too quickly.

Still …

Return engagement for Gimelstob

WIMBLEDON – Commentator, entrepreneur, student, manager and former ATP Tour player Justin Gimelstob coached countryman and friend John Isner for over a year, through 2015 and into early 2016.

The coaching relationship ended when Gimelstob, who had split with his wife, prioritized spending time with young son Brandon. As it was, he already was juggling a host of other duties and projects out of his Los Angeles base.

But there was Gimelstob on the practice courts at Aorangi Park Saturday with … Isner.

Gimelstob was humorously cryptic in response to an e-mail from tennis.life asking what was up.

Gimelstob

“Just trying to help a friend play his best tennis,” he wrote.

Gimelstob

Seeded No. 23, Isner opens up his Wimbledon Monday against fellow American Taylor Fritz, who qualified this week at Roehampton.