Austin financial advisor to face California judge after private jet trip to Pebble Beach with ‘high profile’ friends ended in sexual assault charges
Welcome to Austonia, a new, locally owned news company reporting on news, business, and politics in Austin. Like what you see? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our latest stories in your inbox.
(If you have additional information about this story please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A California judge is set to decide in June whether prosecutors have enough evidence to bring an Austin financial advisor to trial on sexual assault charges after an ill-fated luxury golf trip last year.
The legal troubles of David Walter Osborne began in early May 2019 during a stay with two friends the Monterey Sheriff's Department described as "high-profile" at Pebble Beach Resorts, which hosted the U.S. Open a month later.
Monterey County authorities say Osborne, whose financial advisory firm describes its clients as "families, entrepreneurs, and sports professionals," and his friends flew on a private jet and shared rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, where accommodations start at close to $1,000 and top $7,000 per night.
Monterey County prosecutors believe that on or around May 7, 2019, Osborne sexually assaulted a woman at his hotel in an incident that prompted four felony charges.
The charges are false imprisonment by violence, attempted forcible rape, assault with intent to commit a felony, and sexual penetration by a foreign object. All are felonies, punishable by three to eight years in prison, respectively.
Osborne was jailed in Austin on May 21, 2019 after Monterey County Sheriff's deputies flew to Texas to arrest him at his downtown Austin office. He posted bail the next day. He was 48 at the time.
Authorities won't identify the two golf pals, who they'll only describe as "high profile," and prosecutors have declined to say if they—or a second woman initially described as a victim but later dropped from the complaint—will be called as witnesses.
Neither prosecutors nor police will discuss details of the case. It is unclear whether the two women referred to in the initial report flew in with Osborne or if he met them while in California.
Osborne is the only suspect in the case, said Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Lana Nassoura, and he is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on June 4 in Monterey County Superior Court.
"We believe the charges are baseless and should be dismissed outright," said San Francisco attorney Lyn Agre, who is representing him in California. "He has pleaded not guilty and will defend himself in court to the fullest extent of the law."
The case stalled when California closed its courts in response to pandemic concerns, but jury trials and hearings in Monterey County are set to resume June 1 with social distancing restrictions, court officials said.
If the hearing, which has been postponed twice, goes on as scheduled, a judge will determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to move on to a trial.
Prosecutors and sheriff's officials in Monterey County declined to release more details about the accusations, saying that information is not considered public in open cases in California.
The initial police report said Osborne had attacked two women, but after further analysis of the case, prosecutors believed only one of them was the victim of a crime, Nassoura said. She declined to elaborate, citing case confidentiality.
Asked whether the second woman would be treated as a witness, Nassoura said that had not yet been decided.
She declined to say whether the two friends who accompanied Osborne on the trip and stayed with him at the lodge would be treated as witnesses.
"Since that's fact specific, I can't answer that question," she said in an email to Austonia.
Osborne is the only person being charged in connection with the incident, she said.
Nassoura said she believes Osborne is waiting out the case in Texas, but he is required to return to California for the preliminary hearing, she said. She declined to discuss any more specifics about the case.
Osborne is not currently registered as an active broker or investment advisor, according to FINRA, the nonprofit watchdog arm of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A FINRA representative said that, according to their records, he was no longer registered as of July 2019.
His wealth management firm, Osborne Advisors, has offices in Dallas and Austin but Osborne, listed as the company president and its sole principal, is on a leave of absence, according to an employee who answered the phone at his Austin office on Monday.
David Osborne (Austin Police Department)
Because police reports and arrest affidavits on active court cases are not considered public record in California, few details have been released about the allegations or the evidence. Formal charges were filed on May 17, 2019.
The following Tuesday, May 21, Osborne was booked into the Travis County Jail at 2:39 p.m. He posted bond in lieu of $100,000 bail and was released at 4:24 p.m. the next day.
The Monterey County Sheriff's Office posted the news about his arrest on its Facebook page and thanked Austin police for their help.
Austin police declined to immediately release documents related to the arrest, claiming they fall under public records laws in California.
Osborne was arraigned on the charges in Monterey County and entered a plea of not guilty on June 28.
That same day, the judge approved a restraining order banning him from any contact with the victim.
On Dec. 12, a judge postponed a preliminary hearing over the objections of prosecutors. It was reset for March 19, 2020.
At that point, proceedings became tangled in pandemic-related shutdowns and the hearing was moved to June 4.
Osborne Advisors say on their website that they manage some $200 million in assets for their clients.
The firm operated in Dallas for 10 years before expanding into Austin in 2012, specializing in managing money for former professional athletes, according to a news release published on Business Wire.
- Former Austin wealth manager, witnesses to face California judge Thursday in sex assault case - austonia ›
- Witnesses testify in Austin wealth manager's sex assault case - austonia ›
- Former Austin wealth manager strikes plea deal, avoids jail in California sex assault case - austonia ›
- Former Austin wealth manager strikes plea deal, avoids jail in California sex assault case - austonia ›
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
- Willie Nelson to host cannabis convention for 88th birthday - austonia ›
- First hemp vodka in Texas makes its way to Austin - austonia ›
- Travis County approves first Texas Hemp Harvest Festival - austonia ›
- Delta 8 has landed in Austin: what is it and who uses it? - austonia ›
Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
- Austin downgrades to Stage 4 as COVID cases decline - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan incorrectly says vaccinated people cause mutant strains ... ›
- Everything you need to know about breakthrough cases in Austin ... ›
- After racing for a first dose of the vaccine, some Austinites find ... ›
- COVID in Austin: 9 ICU beds, alternate care site, booster shots ... ›