Remember the now-former Taco Bell executive who was captured via a dashboard camera beating on an Uber driver in Costa Mesa and later gave a tearful apology on local television before going on to sue his victim?
Benjamin Allen Golden pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced today to 60 days in county jail, three years probation and an order to pay restitution, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Consider that a break for the 33-year-old, who originally faced four counts that could have had him jailed for a year if convicted.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2015, Golden had Uber driver Edward Caban pick him up from a bar in the Newport Pier area. But the Taco Bell senior brand manager was so shit-faced as he was being driven away that he refused to put on his seat belt and could not clearly give directions about where he wanted to go.
He became so belligerent that Caban pulled into a Newport Boulevard parking lot and ordered Golden out of the vehicle, prompting the rider to punch and slap the side of the driver's face and the driver to pepper spray the rider's face.
After the news came out about Golden's arrest by Costa Mesa police officers on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct, Taco Bell issued a statement saying he no longer worked for the Irvine-based company, urging him to get professional help.
Reached by the media, Caban said he was sick of the treatment he was receiving from Uber passengers and was going to quit and move out of state.
After Golden hired a lawyer, he appeared on Los Angeles television news programs tearfully apologizing for what he had done. “I want to apologize,” he said to KCBS. “I wasn't in the right state. I'd like him to know that that's not me and that I'm sincerely sorry.”
(Through his lawyer, Caban refused to meet with Golden.)
Golden's lawyer followed the public apology with a statement saying his client was getting counseling.
Must have been that hey-dude-you-are-the-REAL-victim-here counseling that is all the rage these days, because in January Golden filed a lawsuit against Caban seeking $5 million for allegedly being videotaped without his consent. The complaint cited “severe emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, pain and suffering and the loss of his job.”
“It just tells me how disingenuous Golden was on his apology tour,” Caban's attorney, Rivers Morrell III, told CNBC at the time. “What's he want to apologize for if everything was the fault of Edward?”