For the first time in 16 months, a powerful former Orange County supervisor watched his daughter in court.
But Bruce Nestande was not in the Austin, Texas, courtroom to see his 25-year-old daughter try her first case. Gabrielle Jane Nestande is accused of drinking after being honored for her work with a Lone Star State legislator and later causing the hit-and-run killing of a 30-year-old nanny out for an early-morning walk.
Bruce Nestande, 75, and his wife and Gabrielle's mother, Pam, of Newport Beach, attended Monday's jury-selection hearing, according to courtroom observers.
The Austin Statesman reports 85 people were called for the jury, and four of them indicated they could not give a fair verdict because they had relatives killed or seriously hurt in wrecks in which the driver was intoxicated.
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Gabrielle Nestande, who previously worked on Rick Perry's gubernatorial campaign, had originally been charged with failure to stop and render aid in the death of Courtney Griffin, who was walking along Exposition Boulevard when she was run down in 2011. The former capitol staffer was indicted on the more serious offenses of manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter in October, setting her up for as many as 20 years in prison with a conviction.
OC Weekly Gabrielle Nestande archives
Now retired, though involved in internal Republican Party politics, Bruce Nestande previously served as an Orange County supervisor, assemblyman, state GOP chairman, special assistant to Governor Ronald Reagan and campaign chairman for Michael Huffington's unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate.
The late Barry Nestande, Bruce's older son with his first wife, Beverly, was chief of staff to John Benoit, a former Riverside County supervisor, assemblyman and state senator. His younger son Brian Nestande, who is Gabrielle's half-brother, assumed Benoit's old Assembly seat.