Giannini, 53, was placed on probation for four years after entering an Alford plea or best-interests plea in which a defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges the likelihood of conviction in trial. It has the same legal effect as a guilty plea.
Giannini originally was indicted on aggravated rape charges, but the case settled with a charge of aggravated assault with the approval of the victim who did not want to go through a trial.
In October of 2013, the 23-year-old woman told authorities that she had gone to Giannini’s home for her first day of work after he had hired her to be his personal assistant and work from his home.
She said she worked from 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m. when she and Giannini had drinks and swam in his pool. When she was getting ready to leave, however, she said Giannini had removed his bathing suit and sexually assaulted her.
As part of the settlement, a 2002 rape case was dismissed with that victim’s approval as was a pending bribery case. In 2017, Giannini pled guilty to felony drug charges and was placed on probation for four years and fined $2,000.
The case Thursday was handled by Chief Prosecutor Eric Christensen of the DA’s Special Victims Unit which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
“We left the final decision with the victim,” said Christensen. “Given all the circumstances and the difficulty she would face at trial, including being cross examined, she felt that this was the best way to handle the case and that I agreed with her decision.”