☛ TS Gundersen case goes to the jury
The Humboldt County District Attorney's spousal rape case against former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen is in the hands of the Superior Court jury.
The defense made its closing statements on Tuesday, trying to convince the jury that Gundersen's wife, Darcie Seal, was involved in a plot with his ex-wife, who was aiming to gain full custody of her children, to falsely accuse Gundersen of repeatedly raping Seal. While Seal originally made the claims to investigators, she has testified at trial that she was lying.
”In all of this Darcie Seal is just a pawn,” Gundersen's defense attorney Russell Clanton said....
Pretty speedy closing arguments, on both sides.
☛ TS Gundersen case in jury's hands
Clanton began his closing argument by telling the jury the picture it has received of Seal does not fit that of someone who has been controlled and abused. She openly made fun of Gundersen in public, was characterized as insubordinate by a co-worker and controlled the family finances, Clanton said.
”That is hardly the profile of a battered partner,” Clanton said.
The real roots of this case, Clanton said, can be found in Gundersen's relationship with his ex-wife and their long and acrimonious family law case...
Characterizing Gundersen's ex-wife as a blatant liar, Clanton said she gained the confidence of Seal and, when a custody hearing was on the horizon and Seal was in a fragile state, hatched a plan to gain full custody of her children.
Clanton said Seal was exhausted by work and parenting, a mental state that was complicated by a “systematic abuse of mood medications that were prescribed to her, of all people, by her plastic surgeon.”
When Seal was called into the Sheriff's Office main station on Feb. 8, Clanton said, she was an unwitting pawn in Gundersen's ex-wife's plan. The allegations Seal made to investigators that day, Clanton said, were an “improvised replica” of what Gundersen's ex-wife had told her.
When things slipped out of Seal's control that day, and she realized Gundersen was going to be arrested based on her allegations, Clanton said Seal immediately began to try to tell investigators her allegations that Gundersen had raped her hundreds of times over several years were untrue.
Clanton said when Seal told the DA's office she would refuse to falsely testify against her husband in the case, coercion began.
On March 25, the same day a date was set for Gundersen's preliminary hearing, Clanton said DA Investigator Wayne Cox authored a report identifying Seal as a grand theft suspect based on allegations that she gave her ex-brother-in-law firearms and marijuana grow equipment out of Blue Lake Police Department evidence.
There is no explanation for the timing of the report, Clanton said, other than that the DA's Office was trying to force Seal to testify falsely against her husband, threatening to charge her with a felony if she did not.
”It's coercion at its worst -- telling someone, 'we're going to take your freedom or you'll testify,'” Clanton said.
Seal's testimony during trial, Clanton said, is the truth she's been trying to tell ever since that Feb. 8 interview with investigators. ...
Further, Clanton said the prosecution has failed to prove that the sleeping aid Lunesta Seal was taking is powerful enough to render someone unconscious and incapable of consent.
As to the charges of attempting to dissuade the victim of a crime, Clanton said both Seal and a family friend told Gundersen that Seal was dropping all the charges and would not follow through with the case.
”My question to you is how can you dissuade somebody who is dropping the charges -- who has no interest in going forward?” Clanton asked the jury.
The firearms Gundersen is charged with illegally possessing were possessed by Gundersen in his official capacity as chief of police, Clanton said, and therefore were not only legal but were also evidence of good planning for a city that is home to a casino.
”I think this whole issue of weapons has been brought forward just to besmirch my client's character and, maybe, make these spousal rape allegations all the more believable,” Clanton told the jury, concluding that the only reasonable verdict for it to come to is a full acquittal on all charges.
☛ ER Spousal rape case goes to jury
...Clanton spoke at length about Gundersen’s ex-wife, pointing out to the jury that she lied on the stand several times and took steps to mislead Seal into talking to investigators to advance her own agenda — mainly that of winning a heated custody battle for the family’s two children.
One example Clanton gave of Gundersen’s ex-wife lying involved a phone conversation with her attorney at the time, Joan Gallegos. Gundersen’s ex-wife told Seal that Joan Gallegos told her that District Attorney Paul Gallegos, Joan Gallegos’ husband, was willing to prosecute Gundersen.
Joan Gallegos denied the allegations on the stand...
Paul Gallegos, during his rebuttal, rehashed much of what he said Monday, adding that in all the letters and e-mails exchanged between Gundersen and Seal, he never denied the allegations of rape.
If the allegations were indeed false and a product of manipulation, Gallegos asked, why would Seal tell investigators she wished there was more evidence against Gundersen?...