Avoiding trial, David DeMullé will be sentenced March 20 and could face up to ten years in federal prison
By: Eddie Rivera, News Editor
Controversial local publisher David DeMullé pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of being a prohibited person in possession of firearms and ammunition, thus avoiding a January 25 trial. He is due to be sentenced March 20 in Los Angeles.
The guilty plea was entered December 15, 2016, by DeMullé’s attorney, Adam Braun, before US District Judge Otis D. Wright III. As a convicted felon, DeMullé could be sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison. The case had been continued five times since 2012, as DeMullé and Braun have used a number of rationales to extend the trial date.
DeMullé and Braun also asked the court last year to dismiss all the charges, arguing that DeMullé was the “target of LAPD retaliation” because of articles he had written and published in his own newspaper. Judge Wright subsequently rejected those arguments.
As publisher and erstwhile owner of The Foothills Paper since 2004, DeMullé has been a constant and strident critic of numerous local residents, groups, and businesses in the Sunland-Tujunga area, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, Armenian Americans, Latinos, and the homeless. His newspaper often features photos of local car crashes, along with his own monthly column in which he criticizes many in the community.
As detailed in The Foothill Record news article “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” (October 2016), DeMullé, in March 2010, attempted to have firearms delivered to his business under the guise of providing financial relief to earthquake disaster victims in Haiti.
According to an indictment presented to the grand jury in March of 2015, “Such possession occurred after defendant DeMullé was convicted of at least one of the following felonies, each punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year: Obtaining Aid By Misrepresentation, in violation of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, section 10980, in October of 1990; and Perjury, in violation of California Penal Code section 118, also in October 1990.”
During his 1990 federal trial, DeMullé attempted to plead insanity; however, after being evaluated, he was deemed by the judge to be fit for trial and was convicted of federal weapons charges and ordered to not possess guns.
Although these charges were eventually expunged and reduced to misdemeanors, the convictions still prohibited DeMullé from owning or trading in weapons. DeMullé is still legally considered a felon, despite the expungement, and must disclose his felon status if asked.
The 2010 indictment was signed by a team of five US attorneys, including three from the Violent and Organized Crime Section of the US Attorney’s Office.
The charge and upcoming trial were prompted by an advertisement placed by DeMullé in the March 2010 issue of his own paper that stated, in part, “The Organization for Strategic Studies and The Foothills Paper have a new way of getting rid of guns, keep them off the streets, and out of the hands of criminals while helping the earthquake victims of Haiti.”
Los Angeles Police Department officers saw the advertisement and then searched DeMullé’s home and business. US Marshals, acting on a search warrant, located and seized 25 weapons—including pistols and shotguns—and more than 1,100 pounds of ammunition from DeMullé’s OSS Spectrum office on Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga, and at his home.
The multiagency operation, led by LAPD detective Matthew Vandersall, also a sworn agent with the US Marshals, uncovered a small arsenal of weapons, including a Remington model 870 12-gauge pump shotgun, a Glock .45 semiautomatic pistol, a Smith and Wesson model 642 .38 caliber revolver, and a Colt model Combat Commander .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. A minimum of four of the seized weapons had no serial number. A silencer—along with an instructional book on silencers—and a speedy loader also were recovered.
DeMullé also reportedly has faked LAPD and LA County Sheriff’s Department press credentials, and has allegedly embellished his military record and related documentation. In an interview, DeMullé told The Record that he served as a civilian defense contractor, and not in the US military itself, during the Vietnam War. In the same interview, DeMullé accused The Record and its sources of lying.
According to the prosecutor in the current case, DeMullé’s sentence is up to Judge Wright. However, any persons who wish to offer an opinion or recommendation with regard to sentencing may write to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Lesser, 312 N. Spring Street, Ste 1300, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.