By Asif Kalam
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Tracie Brown sentenced Chahal to one year in prison on Friday, 12th August. Chahal bail has been set at $250,000 after the sentencing, as the judge granted a stay on the sentence for his attorney to file an appeal. The appeal must be filed in 30 days.
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August 9, 2016
Gurbaksh Singh Chahal, Indian-American Internet millionaire and former RadiumOne CEO could go to jail for allegedly assaulting a woman in September 2014.
Chahal was let off lightly in a previous case of assault that took place on 5th August, 2013. He was let off on technical grounds, when the judge ruled that the surveillance video that showed Chahal punching and kicking his then-girlfriend 117 times in 30 minutes was inadmissible as evidence because it was seized without a warrant. Chahal was initially charged with 45 felony counts of domestic violence, but they were dropped after the video was ruled out. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, domestic violence and battery, and was let off on a three-year probation and a $500 fine.
However, San Francisco Superior court judge Tracie Brown, has ruled that Chahal violated his probation when he assaulted another woman, a year after the first assault. The video from the first assault has now been admitted in court three years later, as evidence to Chahal’s pattern of abuse.
Damning details of Chahal’s abusive personality had emerged since his original domestic violence lawsuit, when multiple former employees sued him. In a September 2015 workplace harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit, Yousef Khraibut said that, “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.”
While Chahal appears to be particularly violent, his case is sadly not the first or the last that involves the millionaire boy wonders of Silicon Valley. Top CEOs, like Uber’s Travis Kalanick have been in the news for repulsive sexist comments and behaviour. Even beloved figures of the open-source community, like GitHub’s Tom Preston-Werner and Tor Project’s Jacob Appelbaum have had to step down after sexual harassment complaints.
The timeline of both cases against Chahal have all the depressing elements of how high-profile abusers get away easily and continue their horrible behaviour with impunity — after he posted bail and hired an attorney, the woman in the first incident stopped cooperating with the investigation and refused to testify. Heavyweight powerbrokers offered to make the case “go away” for a million-dollar fee, and Chahal gloated over the light sentence he got in the first case by likening it to a speeding ticket. He is reported to have intimidated his second known victim by threatening to report her to immigration authorities.
Chahal is expected to be sentenced this Friday and faces upto two years in prison.