'Pleased' and 'disappointed': 'Pie-guy' Sean Thompson reacts to DA's decision for a new trial
Attorneys for the local activist who tossed a pie at former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Friday they plan to release a 2007 police report from a sexual assault investigation into Johnson as a way of challenging his credibility.
The case of Sean Thompson’s 2016 pie attack of Johnson at an Oak Park charity event returned to Sacramento Superior Court as attorneys plan for a trial date, now scheduled for Sept. 7. Prosecutors have refiled assault charges against Thompson – as a misdemeanor, not a felony this time – after jurors in May failed to reach a verdict.
Thompson maintains that his attack on the former mayor was an act of “political theater,” a protest against what he saw as Johnson’s failure as mayor to address homelessness in Sacramento. Johnson retaliated with fisticuffs, bloodying Thompson with blows to the head before he was restrained by his security detail.
The 23-page police report details an inquiry into alleged sexual assaults by Johnson against a minor and adult, said Thompson co-counsel Jeffrey Mendelman. The report was never forwarded to Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and no charges were ever filed.
The Sacramento Bee reported in 2008 that investigators opened the case in May 2007 when a Sacramento High School teacher told police a 17-year-old said that Johnson touched her inappropriately. A subsequent review by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department agreed with police findings that no criminal charges were warranted.
Mendelman, after the brief Friday morning hearing, said introducing the 10-year-old report will challenge Johnson’s credibility. At trial, Thompson’s attorneys argued Johnson’s reaction to the pie ambush went beyond retaliation, saying the one-time UC Berkeley standout and NBA All-Star meted out “street justice” against Thompson.
“His credibility will be at issue,” Mendelman said.
Johnson’s attorney, Louis Gonzalez, had no comment on the defense’s plan to introduce the 2007 police report.
Unlike in the previous case, Johnson and wife Michelle Rhee will likely appear at some point at the new trial. Gonzalez said Friday the couple will honor a defense subpoena calling on the pair to testify in the case.
Johnson and Rhee were served by a defense investigator to appear Friday, but Gonzalez appeared in their stead, telling Sacramento Superior Court Judge Phillip Stanger that he will also appear on behalf of the couple Sept. 7.
Johnson and Rhee avoided defense subpoenas to testify at Thompson’s earlier felony trial for the pieing. Sacramento County prosecutors at the time said they had no intention of calling either of the pair to the stand.
Thompson also was absent from the morning hearing.