Gurbaksh Chahal gets one year for violating probation

California supreme court declined to review the ruling, sealing the fate of the serial entrepreneur accused of domestic violence


Ritu Jha


Tech mogul Gurbaksh Chahal, who faced domestic violence charges, sobbed as he pleaded in vain for mercy regarding a 2016 probation violation. But San Francisco Superior Court Judge Tracie Brown sentenced him to one year in jail.

County Jail in San Francisco

The 36-year-old serial entrepreneur was remanded to custody the same day, August 31, and sent to San Francisco County Jail, where according to the sheriff’s office, the cells are separated not by bars but glass walls. His release date is Feb.26, 2019.

It was in 2016 that Chahal pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic violence and stepped out on bail of 250,000.

But he was not as lucky on the day of sentencing, and the founder of online advertising film Gravity4 and RadiumOne, who wept in the courtroom according to the district attorney’s office, was handcuffed and sent off to jail.

According to the SF Examiner, earlier this month the California Supreme Court declined to review Brown’s 2016 ruling that Chahal had violated the probation ordered after he pleaded guilty in 2014 to misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic violence battery.

Welcoming the court’s decision, Maitri, a nonprofit focusing on domestic violence, sent a statement to indica: “The legal system decisions must continue to uphold justice and convey the important message that wealth, power, and social status do not entitle anyone to be above the law. While Chahal is being held responsible for his actions, many still suffer in silence without being able to hold perpetrators accountable.”

Chahal first faced charges of domestic violence – 45 counts – in 2013, but he pleaded not guilty.

According to court documents, he hit his girlfriend 117 times, video of which was captured in home security camera footage the police obtained. After the San Francisco Superior court ruled that video footage could not be used as evidence because the police obtained it illegally the San Francisco district attorney’s office dismissed the case when Chahal took a misdemeanor plea deal offer, paid $500 as a fine, and was put on probation.

While on probation, however, another woman accused Chahal of domestic violence at the same South Beach apartment that the first incident occurred. Prosecutors said Chahal kicked the female victim 10 to 12 times, and the court ruled that he had violated his probation.

In April 2018, a state appeals court upheld the 2016 ruling. Chahal petitioned the state supreme court, which declined to review the case.

“The truth is, I’m not a bad person,” Chahal said while crying before being led away. “I’m begging you to have mercy on me, your honor, please.”

In a statement, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said, “Mr. Chahal sought to escape responsibility for assaulting two women, but on Friday he learned that wealth and privilege will not shield him from consequences. Domestic violence is very serious, and we will always be here to make sure that batterers are held accountable.”

According to Chahal’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, who became famous for defending O .J Simpson, asked the judge to consider Chahal’s charitable efforts and community work on behalf of domestic violence victims since the case began. Shapiro also insisted his client was innocent violating his probation.

The judge noted that the evidence showed otherwise, and said that she had already given Chahal credit for his community service when deciding his sentence.

Referring to Chahal’s tearful statement, the judge said: “I don’t think it demonstrates a great deal of regard for the victims in this case.”

Chahal earned his reputation as a “wunderkind,” selling two ad tech companies for a total of $340 million by the time he turned 25.

Following his original guilty pleas, he was ousted from the board of RadiumOne. He founded Gravity4, another San Francisco-based ad tech company. Chahal stepped down as Gravity4 CEO in 2016 after his probation was revoked.

In 2015, two Gravity4 employees sued him in separate cases, alleging sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

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