In a Los Angeles court hearing today, tennis broadcaster Justin Gimelstob pleaded “not guilty” to charges of felony battery that could reportedly mean up to four years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, Justin said, “I look forward to defending myself. There is a whole other side to this story and I look forward to it coming out.” Gimelstob is adamant about his innocence and states the fight occurred after an extended effort by Randall Kaplan to intervene in his life.
The former tennis player, currently a member of the ATP board, is accused to having hit Kaplan, a former friend of his estranged wife Cary, 50 times while threatening to kill him. The attack reportedly began while Kaplan was trick-or-treating on Halloween.
According to sources, Gimelstob will contend that the fight, which occurred about two days after the death of his father, came after an effort by Kaplan and others to diminish Justin’s custody rights of their son. Gimelstob won’t deny there was an altercation, but will claim that Randal started and that he finished it.
In court, Judge Keith Schwartz ordered Justin to stay away from both Cary and Kaplan until the next hearing on the case, which is set for January 31st. Sean Walsh, a representative of Kaplan, told IT that a video, which was discussed in court today, was taken by a family member and, “It is graphic and shows part of the assault.” Sources indicated it was just four seconds long and is not “graphic.” They ask if the video is so damning of Justin, why did Randall want to keep it private?
In a lengthy statement Gimelstob went into great detail denying his culpability in a number of alleged incidents not directly related to the Randall situation. It reads as follows:
“On the advice of my counsel, I will not be commenting in detail regarding the evening of October 31, 2018 except that I look forward to presenting the true and complete facts concerning this matter, not only about what really happened that night, but also about the long history of Mr. Kaplan’s behavior and toxic interference in my life.
This morning I was charged with one count of felony battery. I plead not guilty, and I will now mount a vigorous defense.
While my respect for the legal process prevents me from defending myself fully at this point, I will respond to the unrelated accusations that have been disseminated in the media in an attempt to portray me in a negative light. The following are facts, supported by declarations by third parties and findings of the court.
What are the true facts about my ex-wife, Ms. Cary Sinnott’s, allegations of domestic violence against me in our dissolution action?
I vehemently deny ever committing any act of domestic violence against Ms. 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. The Court made findings in this regard, including:
“Cary used the threat of getting DVTRO’s [domestic violence temporary restraining order] against Justin to get his agreement on certain issues;”
“The court makes no findings as to what incidents form the basis in facts that were included in Cary’s request for DVTRO’s.
“The court finds Cary used the threat of filing for DVTRO’s while negotiating the Deal Memo;”
“Clearly pressure was used to get Justin’s agreement to the Deal Memo”
“Cary’s threat to go in for DVRO’s was a direct response to Justin filing his RFO’s in which he was asserting his parental rights and role with Brandon…”
“While 8k miles away Cary’s father, Bob Sinnott, wrote Justin ‘Agree to Cary’s plan for the 7 months, which is more than fair…I will try to set the stipulation (to not file the DVRO’s).’”
Ms. Sinnott and I ultimately stipulated to mutually 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.
What is the truth about the incident at R&D Kitchen? [in which Justin is accused of assaulting Kris Thabit]
“Regarding the alleged R&D Kitchen incident, the true facts reveal that I initially obtained a restraining order against Kris Thabit. A third party submitted a declaration…detailing the incident in which he attests that Mr. Thabit was the physical aggressor.”
What is the truth about the 2017 Venice Beach Paddle Tennis Tournament? [in which Justin is accused of an assault during a Paddle Tennis tournament]
I was attacked at the Venice Beach Paddle Tennis tournament. Once again, reputable third parties have executed declarations setting forth the true facts. The declarants include: Dr. Daniel S. Levi, a Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA, and my partner that day, Danilo Kawasaki, a well respected local wealth manager and one of the best paddle tennis players in the world.
“Dr. Levi declared, ‘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.’
Similarly, Mr. Kawasaki’s declaration states, “In light of the recent rumors, I…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…'”
The recent passing of my father, the constant litigation over our son, Brandon, and the recent events on the evening of October 31, 2018 have created a very challenging time in my life. I very much appreciate all the love and support I have received from my family, friends, and colleagues. It was never my intention to engage or respond to the recent media coverage…However, I felt compelled to do so based on the nature of the false allegations and sensationalized stories that continue to be disseminated by those with their own agendas and motives.
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…I look forward to working through these challenges.”
When asked about Justin’s assertion that “There is a whole other side,” Walsh told IT, “[Even] if they had some verbal disagreement in a prior time about Mr. Gimelstob’s divorce, that’s just no justification for a violent assault. It wasn’t a simple battery. Serious bodily injury is a serious crime and they are charging him that way. We don’t think he’s being overcharged. Getting your head smashed into the ground and punched 50 times in the head, that can kill you.”
Walsh asserted that Randall’s relationship with Gimelstob’s estranged wife Cary predated Justin and Cary’s relationship, and that it was purely platonic.
On Halloween the popular former ATP pro Mardy Fish took care of Justin’s young son Brandon when Gimelstob’s current girlfriend, Austin Ruth, handed him off. In a sworn declaration, Fish indicated Brandon had been taken good care of.
Gimelstob is being represented by Shawn Holley, who was part of the dream team that defended OJ Simpson. Inside Tennis reached out to her by phone, but as of yet has received no response.