A Silicon Valley entrepreneur could go to prison for kicking and punching his girlfriend 117 times, despite the fact the evidence was originally inadmissible in court.
Gurbaksh Chahal, a multi-millionaire who sold his first advertising company for $40 million at the age of 18 and his second for $300 million at 22, was seen clobbering a woman on the surveillance footage of his penthouse bedroom, then even smothering her with a pillow.
He was charged with 47 felony counts in August of 2013, including assault with a deadly weapon: the pillow.
The judge presiding over the original assault case ruled the video was inadmissible because the police had improperly obtained the footage. The prosecutors argued that law enforcement had to rush the process because they feared a tech expert like Chahal could erase or obscure the footage.
The judge did not accept their contention, according to The Daily Beast.
Chahal allegedly told a colleague, (who filed a separate civil lawsuit mentioned later) that he “had struck his girlfriend with his hands and ‘just shook her and slapped her.'” Chahal also told the colleague that “the woman had originally demanded 200,000,” but furthered the monetary extortion after hearing “her family’s input.”
The girlfriend is suspected of taking “as much as $4 million” in what could be considered hush money; she went from being highly cooperative to unresponsive with authorities as the investigation continued.
The 47 felony charges were lessened to two misdemeanors, and Chahal pleaded guilty.
Not too long after, police received another call from Chahal’s penthouse, but this time from a new girlfriend.
“Same room, same bed, just no security camera that we know of,” says executive director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium Beverly Upton.
Following a consistent theme, this girlfriend also refused to assist law enforcement with the investigation. She returned to her homeland of South Korea because Chahal, according to The Daily Beast, allegedly threatened to out her for immigration fraud.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s (DA) Office seemingly could not garner enough evidence to pursue a criminal case. But following a nifty legal maneuver, the DA’s office used the evidence to prove that he had violated his original probation by allegedly assaulting the second woman.
The video from the first case was then permitted by the judge to be used in the second assault case, and was coupled with the recording of the the second girlfriend’s 911 call.
But the extremely convoluted story of Chahal and his potential crimes does not end there.
According to documents acquired by The Wall Street Journal, a former colleague of Chahal’s, Yousef Khraibut, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit to the San Francisco federal court. It details how Chahal allegedly engaged in several acts of indiscretion.
“Chahal, fueled by a toxic cocktail of prescription drugs, party drugs, alcohol, and sycophants, subjected his associates and Gravity4 employees to daily abuse, humiliation, racist taunts, extortionate manipulation, tales of revenge, and threats of violence,” the suit reads.
Khraibut contends that Chahal threatened him in many ways, including violence, forced emigration and, termination.
Khraibut also claims Chahal had highly negative and offensive things to say about many different groups of people.
“Chahal complained that Jews ran Silicon Valley and had conspired against him in business,” and that he wishes his name was “Zuckerberg,” so he could garner more investments.
When women moved up in the interview process at his company, he referred to it as a “pussy pass.”
Chahal allegedly referred to Kraibut as a “terrorist.”
When referring to people of color, he used terms like the n-word, “12 years a slave” and “django.” According to the suit, he was even caught on video calling his own dog, Gabroo, the n-word when the canine did something that angered him.
Court papers reveal Chahal conspired to cover up the alleged assault crimes through a complex set of events that included coercion and bribery with people other than the two alleged victims.
Chahal met with former San Francisco mayor and onetime speaker of the California State assembly, Democrat Willie Brown, to see “if he can make this go away.” Chahal gave Brown a $250,000 retainer after he asked for a total of $1 million. Former California State Controller Steve Westly, who set up the meeting between Chahal and Brown, replied to Chahal’s email about the asking price.
“Wow. That’s pricey, but probably worth it if he can make it happen. I suspect he will pull out all the stops to get this done,” court documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal read.
The two counts of misdemeanor in which Chahal pleaded guilty to carry a one-year maximum. The DA’s office proposed sentencing be served consecutively rather than concurrently.
The sentencing hearing is set for Friday, Aug. 12.
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