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Pie-Throwing Defendant in Sacramento Case Got Worst of It

Pie ‘Attack’ on Former Mayor Kevin Johnson Trial to Resume Monday for Military Vet

Special to the Vanguard

Witnesses for the prosecution unexpectedly – under gentle, but intense cross examination – described in a Sacramento Superior Court trial here not a violent attack on former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson by a political prankster, but a savage beat-down of a non-violent and much smaller protestor by the former NBA all-star.

Sean Thompson, the military veteran who allegedly tossed the pie into the face of Johnson at a fundraiser last year, faces years in jail on several charges, including felony assault on a public official.

Including parts of four days of jury selection, the trial enters its fifth day Monday, May 8, when it resumes in Dept. 25 here. There was no court Friday.

Sacramento Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz has repeatedly suggested it’s a “simple” case, not “the trial of the century,” and chose not to call the victim of the pie-in-face, Johnson; he instead is calling people who either worked or attended a fundraiser for the well-to-do at Johnson’s St. Hope Academy (formerly Sacramento High School) late last year.

But the first two witnesses almost appeared to be testifying for the defense.

Bobbin Mulvaney, whose firm catered the affair, said it was attended by more than 100 “community leaders and corporates” who paid $125 a head, and admitted on the stand she was not, in fact, a witness to Thompson or anyone else throwing a pie. She said she watched what happened afterward, though, and described in detail Johnson throwing repeated punches that landed on Thompson, who didn’t fight back.

“I did not see the pie until after it hit the mayor,” Mulvaney said, and then described Johnson’s attack, and suggested she felt sorry for Thompson – who is on trial for assaulting the former mayor, but who sounded more like the victim of a vicious attack from Mulvaney’s description.

Paul Rind, a waiter at the affair, said  he did see Thompson “put a pie in the mayor’s face in a forceful” manner. But then he described in detail the beating, which sounded much more violent.

“I saw the mayor hit him (Thompson) seven times. I didn’t see (the defendant) swing back and he curled up in a defensive position, like a fetal position,” said Rind. He then testified that the mayor continued to “punch” Thompson three to four times, even though the alleged pie-thrower was on the ground. Rind said, “I don’t recall any injuries to the mayor,” despite obvious injuries to Thompson, who was hospitalized. Rind also said the mayor tried to “play it off” and make light of the event afterward, as if it wasn’t that serious.

Before witnesses were called by the prosecution, Ortiz, in brief opening arguments, displayed a transcript from part of a Thompson jailhouse interview where Thompson reportedly admitted he hit the mayor with a pie as a political statement because the mayor failed to help the homeless and the “have nots” in Sacramento, and that the children of citizens in Sacramento today would “pay” for the arena and other failures of Johnson in his eight years as mayor.

Claire White, one of two lawyers – the other is Jeff Mendelman – of the Vallejo law firm Morton & Russo which is representing pro bono accused pie-thrower Sean Thompson, called Thompson’s pie attack “not an assault” but an “act of political theatre, a stunt” and an “act of theatre with risk.” She emphasized that her client had “no intention of hurting anyone” with a coconut cream pie. “This is a case of the wrong man (on trial) for the wrong crime,” she said.

The trial should have started weeks ago, but several judges were recused in the case because of conflicts of interest, and jury selection was unusually long because potential jurors either had seen too much about the case in the news, or raised money for the mayor’s campaign or had some other conflicts.

One juror, at the end of Thursday’s testimony, asked in open court if Thompson really faced a felony charge. The judge admonished him that it wasn’t important to know that right now. In fact, Thompson does face a felony, even though DDA Ortiz told the jury it “isn’t the trial of the century.”

White said her team still wants to call Johnson to testify but that the former mayor “has been hiding out for more than a month…no one can find him.” She added that Thompson has a constitutional right to face his accuser, but the DDA and Johnson are “denying Mr. Thompson that right.”



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29 thoughts on “Pie-Throwing Defendant in Sacramento Case Got Worst of It”

  1. Keith O

    I love it, the whole case appears to be turning against Johnson and the city.  Good, they overcharged and are wasting taxpayer money on this frivolous trial.

  2. John Hobbs

    I shouldn’t be surprised that the Vanguard defends this assailant. Free Daniel Marsh, too, right?

    And I’m sure Ms. White is pleased with all the free publicity. Too bad she can’t be prosecuted for criminal arrogance.  Thompson wanted this trial and since we’re footing the bill, as we always do for “activists” like Thompson, I want him to get the full value of the justice he asked for.

    What I find particularly disgusting is your repetition of the term veteran. His infamy should not be cloaked in the blood of the thousands of Americans who served with honor.

  3. Tia Will

    John

    What do you know about Mr. Thompson that we don’t. You state “his infamy”. What infamy ? Did he desert ?  Was he dishonorably discharged ? Dereliction of duty, maybe ? Pie throwing infamy ?  I know essentially nothing about his except that he is a political activist and you apparently do not approve of him. Can you clarify ?

    I also served in the military. I am also a former and current political activist, doubtless for some causes of which you do not approve. Does that make me infamous ? Does it mean that I should not be considered to have “served with honor” because you do not like my politics or form of activism ?

  4. John Hobbs

    ” What infamy ?”

    The crime to which he has repeatedly admitted, even bragged about and for which he is being tried.

    “Does it mean that I should not be considered to have “served with honor” because you do not like my politics or form of activism ?”

    Where in heck do you read that in my comments. This is one of your weirdest deflections yet.

    Thompson is not an activist, btw, he is a glory hound. He has not helped raise one person from homelessness.

     

    1. Tia Will

      John

      Ok, so I see where we differ.

      1. I usually would consider the word “infamy” for something a bit more substantial than a pie in the face.

      2. I fail to see connection between this act and his military service which would warrant the use of the word veteran whether or not you agree with the action of pie throwing.

      3. Cannot see how you interpret a correct description of a person’s previous service as reflecting on any other veteran ?

      4. It would seem that one man’s “activist” is another’s “glory hound”.

      5. How do you know whether or not he has ever been helpful in “raising one person from homelessness ?”

      And finally, speaking of “deflection”, how about “Free Daniel Marsh, too, right?”

       

       

  5. David Greenwald

    Isn’t there a question about whether this is felony conduct?  John?   I mean even Keith understands that – why don’t you?

      1. David Greenwald

        I meant no offense by that comment -only that you and I are usually farther apart on issues than John and I.  Plus I was being a bit facetious

        1. Keith O

          I mean were talking about a cream pie to the face ending in a felony charge?  A cream pie, not even a pecan pie.  For that the guy already got a beat down from the mayor that sounds like it rivaled the beat down that the jaywalker recently received at the hands of a Sacramento cop.  Did Mayor Johnson overreact and use too much force in retaliation? Maybe that should be looked into?

          How much will this cream pie end up costing taxpayers?

    1. John Hobbs

      CA penal code 217.1(a)

      (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), every person who commits any assault upon the President or Vice President of the United States, the Governor of any state or territory, any justice, judge, or former judge of any local, state, or federal court of record, any commissioner, referee, or other subordinate judicial officer of any court of record, the secretary or director of any executive agency or department of the United States or any state or territory, or any other official of the United States or any state or territory holding elective office, any mayor, city council member, county supervisor, sheriff, district attorney, prosecutor or assistant prosecutor of any local, state, or federal prosecutor’s office, a former prosecutor or assistant prosecutor of any local, state, or federal prosecutor’s office, public defender or assistant public defender of any local, state, or federal public defender’s office, a former public defender or assistant public defender of any local, state, or federal public defender’s office, the chief of police of any municipal police department, any peace officer, any juror in any local, state, or federal court of record, or the immediate family of any of these officials, in retaliation for or to prevent the performance of the victim’s official duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

      You seem determined to ignore the codified law in this matter, so I’ve quoted it for you. He is being tried as a felon because he is too arrogant and/or stupid to simply admit guilt and seek forgiveness.

        1. Howard P

          John… thank you for the cite… yet a maximum of 1 year in County jail (yeah saw the “except for…”?  For a “felony”?  Think someone is quoted saying “the law is an ass”… since Johnson is no longer Mayor, suspect it is highly unlikely that the defendant will be a “repeat offender”.

          Should be a misdemeanor at best, and a “public service” punishment of 500-1000 hours seems the max appropriate punishment…

  6. Howard P

    Oh… considering the ‘weapon’, was considering a really inappropriate comparison… but I’ll be good…

    Criminal charges should be dismissed for the current defendant… if his “Preciousness” wants to pursue it as a civil matter (clothes cleaning, loss of dignity, eyewash, etc.), that’s OK.

    Will leave to the current defendant whether criminal or civil charges be brought against “His Preciousness”.

    If the defendant is wise, a personal (not public) sincere apology seems appropriate.  Then all should move one.  This is a truly trivial matter.

  7. John Hobbs

    “If the defendant is wise,”

    If this were the case, he would not have committed the assault and battery, in the first place.

    “a personal (not public) sincere apology seems appropriate.”

    Wrong, he committed the crime in a very public setting.

    “This is a truly trivial matter.”

    Only to the extremely partisan. I do not like Johnson, didn’t vote for him, hate the arena and all the damage it has done. I still don’t want hooligans to feel free to assault public officials. Why don’t you ask your mayor for his perspective on that issue?

    1. Howard P

      Am not, nor ever have been, a ‘partisan’, except perhaps for rationality…

      As to your tag line, if Robb Davis was hit with a cream pie, on television/cable, in the middle of a ceremonial CC presentation for an issue he deeply espoused, I am 98.75% sure he would not have recommended the Yolo County DA prosecute (at any level),  and 99.99999999999% sure he’d object to felony charges.

      [moderated]

      1. Tia Will

        And I am sure with at least the same level of confidence  that Robb Davis would not have physically assaulted the pie perpetrator in retaliation.

    2. David Greenwald

      You mean our mayor who is trying to work with officials to get a restorative justice process in the mosque incident?  The mayor who was instrumental in helping to create the Neighborhood Courts?  John – are you really making a serious argument here?

    3. Tia Will

      John

      So would you really prefer to pay for incarceration for the “pie perp” than perhaps an apology & at most some community service ?  Both of which I feel would be good actions for the former mayor as well based on his degree of over reaction.

      1. John Hobbs

        Sorry, Tia, but until you’re the victim, you don’t get to say what’s best for the former mayor or judge his degree of reaction. I thought that he was quite restrained. I was mugged a couple of years back and I made damned sure that the perp wasn’t getting up until the police arrived. That entailed the perp getting a few abrasions and contusions. Not being a former pro athlete, I used my Kaiser workers comp unit issued walking cane to defend myself. No one questioned my use of appropriate force. I suspect that most reasonable people would defend themselves, but sometimes I lose faith in the survival instinct when I read comments like yours.

        1. Tia Will

          John

          you don’t get to say what’s best for the former mayor or judge his degree of reaction.”

          Please note that I said nothing at all about “what is best for the former mayor”. I do believe that we can all have and express our own opinions about his degree of reaction. You certainly did not hold back on your opinions judging the accused prior to his full trial. You felt free to denigrate his right to be factually considered and reported to be a veteran.

  8. Darrell Parker

    Unfortunately, despite Mr. Hobbs’ pretense that he is an expert in law and morality, he only seems to show his true intent which is to shut down anyone who chooses to remove their posteriors from the chair and actually participate in the well blooded and well fought for freedoms that our constitution provides, including the right to pie-face a clown politician or dispatch a tyrant who have enriched themselves at the cost of the freedom of their constituents.

    Had Mr. Hobbs participated in or even studied the history of Mr. Johnson’s farcical tenure as Mayor of Sacramento, he would have found that at minimum he was a cretin and fool. KJ is culpable in the policies that led to the criminalization of the homeless and those advocates who challenged his moral turpitude. From the time he brought his morally deficient ideals to this city in the guise of a community activism through his being tossed out on his ear, he has only worked to serve himself and his “celebrity”. He is a proven child molester whose golden boy status has prevented him from facing real justice. His only goal was to enrich himself and expand his status on trivial actions made glorious by the ever present and corrupt ideology of celebrity.

    As for the law that Mr. Hobbs chose to cite, he clearly fails to grasp the full consequence of its formula. The specifics code includes “… commits any assault … to prevent the performance of the victim’s official duties“, under that constraint and by definition of the words used in the law and by virtue of the intent of the perpetrator, there was no “aggressive or violent action” taken. Mr. Johnson was not performing a duty as mayor at the time of the event, but was there in the capacity of its sponsor. Nor was he kept from performing his duties subsequent to the pie-throwing event. He suffered no injury or loss, unlike many of his constituents during his time as Mayor.

    At the beginning of the Occupy Movement in Sacramento, Mr. Thompson had the occasion to meet with the Sacramento City council privately and publically, and made attempts to enlist their and the Mayor’s cooperation in the movements peaceful attempts to address the movement’s grievances and at every turn these efforts were thwarted by most, if not all, of the city leaders, contrary to the guarantees of this country’s Constitution. Participants were jailed, harassed and prosecuted by the city, its bureaucrats, police and even certain ignorant citizens, yet billionaires and potentates were wined and dined by these very city representatives on a multitude of occasions allowing Mr. Johnson to enrich himself using his sworn office as a catalyst.

    No Mr. Hobbs, like so many other tyrants and politicians who use their power to protect and enrich themselves while their constituents bear the burden of cost and freedom, Mr. Johnson deserves more than a pie in the face, however with persons like yourself manning the lever of the voting machine, justice will always come at the cost of the blood, lives and property of the innocents.

     

    1. John Hobbs

      Mr Parker, I have been out of my chair pounding the pavement and knocking on doors for social and political causes since LBJ was potus and still do voter registration drives in rural areas.  Your ignorance is surpassed only by your arrogance and gullibility.

      “persons like yourself manning the lever of the voting machine,”

      Had you read any of my many posts here and elsewhere re: the former mayor, you would know that I have never voted for him and disagree with almost all of his major actions in office.

      “At the beginning of the Occupy Movement in Sacramento, Mr. Thompson had the occasion to meet with the Sacramento City council privately and publically, and made attempts to enlist their and the Mayor’s cooperation in the movements peaceful attempts to address the movement’s grievances and at every turn these efforts were thwarted by most, if not all, of the city leaders,”

      Boohoo, you lost, get over it, but if you assault a public official, you’re a criminal, not an activist. I didn’t vote for the current potus. Should I be allowed to hit him in the face with a pie?

      “No Mr. Hobbs, like so many other tyrants and politicians who use their power to protect and enrich themselves”

      I live on Social Security and modest pension, When I worked in the public sector, I never took so much a paper clip.

      ” Mr. Johnson deserves more than a pie in the face,”

      Oh really.

      “justice will always come at the cost of the blood, lives and property of the innocents.”

      Thompson is alive, lost very little blood and has no property to lose.

      Your agenda is clear and I reported your your comment for the many pejoratives and libels, but that is usually futile, so I thought I’d spend a moment to point out a few for which I would most certainly be censored.

      “a clown”

      ” a cretin and fool.”

      ” He is a proven child molester”

      “the ever present and corrupt ideology of celebrity.”(whatever that means)

      “even certain ignorant citizens,”

  9. Tia Will

    John

    Should I be allowed to hit him in the face with a pie?”

    With 45 it is ever so tempting…. but no, I am a pacifist so the answer remains “no” regardless of how deserving the target.

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