A Fresno City Council staff assistant is facing trial in September on seven felony counts of domestic violence against a fellow City Hall employee.
The alleged incident occurred in 2019. An account from responding Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies said Daniel Gai’s reported assault on his then-girlfriend was only stopped by a hammer blow to the back of his head by another woman who was present.
Gai’s attorney Eric Schweitzer says his client requested a jury trial. Earlier this week, Superior Court Judge Arlan Harrell set the date for Sept. 2.
While both Gai and the alleged victim continue to work at City Hall, a criminal protective order is in place, according to court documents. A CPO is ordered by the district attorney in a criminal case that sets certain conditions on the suspect. The exact details of Gai’s CPO are unknown. It will remain in effect until the end of the criminal case.
Gai works for City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld. Gai did not respond to messages from GV Wire seeking comment. His attorney says Gai could face more than 11 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
GV Wire is not naming the alleged victim because the case involves domestic violence.
Girlfriend: ‘He Choked Me’
Deputies responded to a report of domestic violence on May 16, 2019 at a residence in a county neighborhood near Bullard High School.
A restraining order, filed shortly after the alleged incident, described a violent attack.
“Mr. Gai came home drunk. We got into an argument and he attacked me three times. He choked me, threw me against the wall, crib and dresser. Threatened to kill me and (another woman who was present, whose name is redacted by GV Wire). He threw me against the wall and bed while our daughter (name redacted by GV Wire) was in my arms,” the restraining order said.
The restraining order application said the alleged victim suffered several bruises on her neck, back and lower leg.
The court docket showed that the petitioner for the temporary restraining order asked to withdraw the request at a June 2019 hearing, but Judge Robert Mangano denied the motion. A reason is not listed on the docket.
The criminal protective order was issued a month later.
Assault Stopped With a Hammer, Report Says
A report from the Sheriff’s Office also described the scene.
“Gai came home late and was intoxicated. He got into an argument with his then girlfriend. It turned physical when Gai shoved her down and began choking her and threatened to kill her. A female adult family member entered and tried to get Gai off of her. Gai turned his attention to her, shoved her, choked her and threatened to kill her.
“The girlfriend then went and picked up her baby. Meanwhile, the other woman became free and called us to make a report. Gai made his way over to his girlfriend and told her to let him hold the child. When she said no, he pushed her down with the baby in her arms and began choking the woman again. The other woman then hit him in the back of the head with a hammer, causing him to stop his attack.
“Deputies showed up, got Gai medical treatment and then arrested him. He faced charges of spousal abuse, making criminal threats, endangering a child and battery. He bailed out of jail later that same day. The amount was $92,000. He posted a bond amount of $9,200,” the deputy’s report said.
The initial restraining order request did not seek to extend protections to the alleged victim’s place of work — City Hall.
The alleged victim and Gai have a child together, records show, who was seven months old at the time of the alleged attack.
Court records also show Gai was previously convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2009 and 2014. He was sentenced in those cases to 90 days and 10 days in jail respectively.
Facing Seven Counts Against Three Alleged Victims
Gai faces seven counts related to the incident. The counts include:
— One count of causing corporal injury
— Two counts of making criminals threats, against the alleged victim and the other woman who was present.
— Three counts of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, against the alleged victim, the other woman present, and a third unnamed person.
— Once count of child abuse.
Preparing for Trial
Gai’s attorney said he and his client are preparing for trial.
“Mr. Gai is presumed innocent of all counts and that the criminal threat counts, particularly, require proof beyond a reasonable doubt of specific intent to induce someone to take the words to be a threat,” Schweitzer said in statement to GV Wire via email.