One of the judges involved in the Cain Velasquez case might be concerned about safety, and extra security has been provided as a result, NBC Bay Area has learned.
Judicial protection is not new in Santa Clara County and does not happen frequently. But the Velasquez case has stirred up a lot of emotion and apparently some threats.
Supporters of the former UFC champion have been a constant presence anytime Velasquez is in court, and all have been peaceful so far.
But what has been clear is their disagreement with rulings by judges to keep the MMA star in jail with no bail, while releasing the man he was reportedly targeting -- accused child molester Harry Goularte -- on his own recognizance with no bail.
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"Forty years of doing this, I can't believe the criminal justice system thinks this is the right outcome," said Mark Geragos, Velasquez's attorney.
Velasquez was arrested in San Jose last week after he chased a pickup carrying Goularte through busy streets in three Silicon Valley cities, ramming the vehicle with his own pickup truck during an 11-mile high-speed chase, prosecutors have said.
Velasquez, 39, fired a .40-caliber pistol at the vehicle several times, wounding Goularte’s stepfather, who was driving, in his arm and torso, prosecutors said.
The MMA star faces attempted murder and multiple gun assault charges.
Sources tell NBC Bay Area one of the judges involved in the case has asked for some protection.
"No, I'm not surprised at all," said Mark Garcia, who provides executive security for clients and is a retired sheriff's lieutenant.
Garcia said security for a judge in this case can range from extra patrols around their home to around-the-clock armed guards.
"You look at each and every case and you also do a threat assessment," Garcia said. "And you come up with an idea and the tools necessary to provide them safety."
It is not clear if the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has activated its judicial protection unit for the Velasquez case.
In a statement, the San Jose Police Department would only say "We are monitoring the situation and are aware."
Garcia said in past high profile cases, protection was even given to prosecutors and that judges sometimes obtained concealed gun permits for gang crime cases.
Velasquez transitioned to pro wrestling after retiring from his MMA career in 2019. A former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, he earned title belts in 2010 and 2012.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.