Local publisher sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, plus probation; currently free on bail pending appeal
By Eddie Rivera, News Editor
David DeMulle, publisher of The Foothills Paper, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison May 22, after pleading guilty in December 2016 to a single charge of being a Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm.
Judge Otis D. Wright, following a 2-hour sentencing hearing at the US Courthouse in Los Angeles, gave DeMulle, 75, a longer sentence than the government had requested, because of an additional issue of obstruction of justice, which added 9 months to the sentence. Government sentencing guidelines call for 27 to 33 months in such a case, but Judge Wright told DeMulle during the hearing that DeMulle showed “a pattern of falsehoods.” Wright also told DeMulle that he was pronouncing the enhanced sentence “to bring home the seriousness of his misconduct.”
In a discussion of the sentencing with attorneys, Wright told DeMulle’s attorney, Adam Harlan Braun, that “everything is troubling,” and that DeMulle had “no credibility left, filing one frivolous motion after another” during the course of the case. “You have supported your motions with falsehoods,” said Wright.
Wright admonished DeMulle, saying that he knew he was not allowed to possess, buy, or sell firearms, even though a previous felony firearms conviction had been expunged. DeMulle’s credibility was questioned throughout the sentencing hearing.
A large part of the hearing was devoted to DeMulle’s expungement hearing approximately 5 years after a 1990 conviction, which constituted the obstruction of justice charge. DeMulle claimed that he was not at that hearing, and so was unaware that he could not possess firearms.
A document from that hearing showed a checked box, indicating DeMulle was indeed at the hearing; however, a transcript from the hearing was no longer available. A clearly frustrated Wright questioned “how someone with such a long history and fascination with guns and ammo could not know all of the laws” surrounding gun possession.
Wright also took issue with DeMulle’s claim that he had donated $50,000 in medical supplies to a Haitian relief organization following the 2010 earthquake in that country. (DeMulle’s initial conviction stemmed from his “Guns for Haiti” scheme to trade guns for cash to send to Haitian earthquake victims. Ironically, Los Angeles Police Department investigators were the only ones to respond to the offer.)
“There is not one slip of paper that shows this (donation),” said Wright.
DeMulle explained that he had been contacted by “some local doctors” who had extra “expendable” supplies that they were willing to donate. DeMulle then said he had contacted an organization called Haitian Medical Relief. But Wright said that he could find no mention of the organization, after a quick online search. DeMulle then said he and his crew eventually contacted members of the organization, and over two days in the spring of 2011, loaded two container trucks full of medical supplies and sent the trucks on their way, presumably to Haiti.
“I don’t remember any of the names of any of the people or any of the doctors,” DeMulle added. Where Wright had initially leaned against the enhanced sentence early in the hearing, he admitted to Assistant US Attorney Gregory Lesser that he was now “changing his mind.”
Arguing against the enhanced sentence, Attorney Braun mentioned that DeMulle “didn’t have that many years left on Earth.” Judge Wright, 72, took issue with that characterization and told Braun so.
“I’m 72,” said Wright, “and I feel great!” Braun dropped the argument.
Finally, in delivering the sentence, Wright told DeMulle that he was to report to the custody of US Marshals no later than noon on July 24, 2017. However, he also agreed to grant $5,000 bail pending an appeal. Asked to clarify the sentence, attorney Lesser agreed that the status was confusing. Lesser said that it was unlikely that DeMulle would be reporting to prison in July, and that his own team would be making a decision soon about how to approach that situation. Lesser also noted that any appeal would take at least nine months.
Following the sentencing, the corrosive and curmudgeonly DeMulle was asked by The Foothill Record by e-mail, “Do you have a statement/reaction that you would like people to hear? Do you have regrets? Apologies for your actions? Something that wasn’t said throughout your many courtroom appearances and continuations”
The unrepentant DeMulle responded, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”