Judge reduces Jayapal stalker’s bail from $500,000 to $150,000

Ritu Jha-

Brett Forsell, the Seattle man accused of stalking US Representative Pramila Jayapal, had his bail amount reduced on Tuesday by the King County Superior Court judge Aimée Sutton from $500,000 to $150,000.

Casey McNerthney, director of communications at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office confirmed the development to indica via an email. “He’s still in custody. His bail amount – the amount he needs to post to get out of jail – was reduced by a judge from $500,000 to $150,000.”

McNerthney said that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued that the amount should remain at $500,000.

“We also argued that if he is able to post the bail amount… that he should be required to have electronic home monitoring,” McNerthney said. The judge granted prosecutors’ request for GPS monitoring with victim notification, alcohol monitoring, a stalking protection order and, if the defendant were to post the bail amount, electronic home monitoring.

Forsell, 49, has pleaded not guilty to the charge, but has admitted to sending an email to Jayapal’s public ID in January this year stating he did not like her. He also admitted to driving near her house several times and yelling at her. This happened in June and later on July 9, when he was allegedly armed with a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol.

Gary M Ernsdorff, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, who reviewed the case, said Forsell continued to hurl expletives even after he was arrested.

The Indian American congresswoman and her husband Steve Williamson were at their Seattle residence on July 9, when they heard loud yelling around 10.30 pm. Court documents said Williamson went out on the front porch to investigate and the couple heard male voices allegedly yelling expletives and saying “Go back to India.”

When he opened the door, Williamson told investigators, he saw one of the males get back into a vehicle driven by the other male and speeding away. Jayapal said there was a similar incident outside her residence on July 2 as well.

That was not the end of her ordeal. According to court documents, a speeding car made a loud revving sound the same night on her street before coming to a halt in her driveway. Williamson said he heard metal pinging noises that sounded similar to a pellet gun.

Jayapal told investigators she was scared and that it reminded her of the January 6, 2021 incident at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, when the building was attacked by rioters. She said she was reliving a previous trauma and she was fearful that they were there to do harm to her. She also stated that she was afraid because she wondered if multiple other people would show up at her residence.

Forsell’s next pre-trial hearing in the case is on August 16.