Thursday, April 11, 2002
Bail Hearing for Woman Accused of Threatening Judge Beverly Continued
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
A bail hearing yesterday for a Redondo Beach woman accused of sending a series of threatening letters to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge was continued until next week to give the defense more time to show it is not likely she will attempt to injure the judge.
Mimi Villegas Galdi was arrested Tuesday after being indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts of threatening Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Beverly Jr, including threats to blow up the downtown Civil Courthouse, where Beverly sits as head of the court’s Appellate Division.
“She is someone who will never have the ability to carry out any of these threats,” Galdi’s attorney, Federal Deputy Public Defender Pedro Castillo, argued at the hearing at the Roybal Federal Building.
Castillo pointed to Galdi’s record, which is limited to a 1995 arrest for vandalism, and her more than 30 years as a resident of the country as evidence that she should be granted bail. Galdi, a former dental hygenist, claims to have become a U.S. citizen when she was 17.
Castillo also argued that Galdi’s 17-year-old son should not have to make do without his mother.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Becky Walker countered that the recent escalation in Galdi’s threats are more than sufficient reason to keep her in custody.
“She’s not likely to stop this course of action,” Walker said. “She does pose a danger.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret A. Nagel said she would feel more comfortable if she could be further persuaded that Galdi is not a threat to the community and gave Castillo the option of continuing the hearing or having Galdi detained.
“History has taught us, in this and other shooting sprees, you never know,” Nagel said, referring to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Nagel expressed concerns over the seriousness of the threats made by Galdi, explaining that threats made in a post-Sept. 11 world are now taken more seriously than they were before.
Galdi, who will remain in custody, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Her bail hearing was continued until Tuesday.
Galdi, who claims to have come to the U.S. from Argentina in 1970, wrote between 15 and 30 letters to Beverly over a period of four years, with the last three becoming increasingly threatening, Walker said.
“The others were inappropriate letters to the judge but not explicit threats of violence,” Walker said.
Several years ago, Beverly heard a complaint Galdi filed against a commissioner who granted a permanent injunction against Galdi. The injunction was requested by Galdi’s former colleagues at Megdal clinics in Lawndale after they had some personal disagreements.
The indictment charges that on March 25, Galdi sent a letter to Beverly through the mail threatening to cause a “bomb/terrorist attack” upon the Civil Courthouse. In that same letter, according to the indictment, Galdi threatened that Beverly’s daughter and grandson would be “hung or dragged from a truck” by white supremacists. Beverly is black.
In a letter a month earlier Galdi, according to the indictment, said she would “mail anthrax, aide [sic] underground terrorists that are in this country and make 9-11 look like childs play.” She also said she would “aide terrorists with germ warfare to all Blacks, Mexicans and Subhuman jews.” Galdi also threatened to blow up the downtown courthouse, Megdal clinics, and Versafab, Inc.
“They are serious cause for concern given the nature of the letters,” Walker said of Galdi’s two most recent letters.
On Aug. 25, 1998 Galdi wrote Beverly to tell him she would “go on a shooting spree” and indicated Beverly as one of her planned victims, the indictment said.
A sheriff’s deputy contacted Galdi after the 1998 letter and she stopped sending Beverly letters for sometime, Walker said.
Several Internet websites requesting prayers ask for prayers for Galdi, including one asking for “deliverance from all occult oppressions through the use of curses and witchcraft over the life of Mimi Villegas Galdi.” Another prayer request asks for a legal victory.
Galdi filed a civil lawsuit against Megdal Corporation and Dr. Phillip Megdal in 1997, but it was dismissed.
Beverly did not immediately return calls for comment.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company