News Release|

Vishal Bhatt, 35, has been sentenced to 12 years in the Department of Corrections for threatening a neighbor with a baseball bat and then threatening the judge presiding over the criminal case.

In March of 2022, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a disturbance call in a neighborhood in an unincorporated part of the county. Deputies interviewed Bhatt who claims his neighbor came over to his house and demanded he “slow down” when driving in the neighborhood. After the neighbor left to return home, Bhatt got into his car with a baseball bat and drove to neighbor’s house to confront him. Two witnesses, including an off-duty officer, told deputies on-scene that they saw Bhatt get out of his car with a baseball bat and he was holding it in a manner consistent with someone about to swing. One of the witnesses also reported seeing Bhatt put the baseball bat up to the victim’s neck.

Bhatt was arrested and released on a $25,000 surety bond, pending trial. In March 2023, a supervisor with pre-trial services emailed Bhatt to let him know he needed to check in with their division or they would have to submit a “non-compliance report” to the Court.

Bhatt responded by demanding the criminal charges against him be dropped.

“Issue a warrant and send the pigs, you’re going to need SWAT,” Bhatt wrote back to the pre-trial services supervisor in an email. “We have something for them and will be waiting.”

The pre-trial services supervisor attempted to get a current address on-file for Bhatt via email. Instead of providing an address, Bhatt threatened the judge and prosecutor handling the criminal case involving the neighbor dispute.

“Let me make myself clear,” Bhatt stated in his email to pre-trial services. “I have both (the prosecutor) and (judge’s) home addresses. It would be wise to get them both 24hr police protection. Your court will not be convicting me of any fraud charges without major repercussions.”

In addition to the original case (2022 CR 334), Bhatt was charged with Retaliation Against and Judge and Retaliation Against a Prosecutor. This new case (2023 CR 482) was handed off to a Special Prosecutor to eliminate any potential conflict of interest.

2022 CR 334 (Menacing/Neighbor Dispute Case):

Bhatt pleaded guilty to Menacing and Witness/Victim Intimidation. He was sentenced to 12 years in the Department of Corrections on March 13, 2024.

2023 CR 482 (Retaliation/Threats Case):

Bhatt pleaded guilty to Retaliation Against a Judge—a class 4 felony. He was sentenced on March 25, 2024 to 6 years in the Department of Corrections. This sentence will run concurrent to the original case.

“Threatening the prosecutor and judge assigned to your case won’t make it go away,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “Things will only get worse, as this defendant learned with a well-deserved prison sentence. I’m grateful for my team holding this man accountable, and for DA Michael Allen and the 4th Judicial District, who served as special prosecutor on the retaliation case.”



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