By Joe Johnson
The Georgia Court of Appeals has agreed to consider an appeal by the Western judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office of the trial court judge's refusal to permit three women from testifying in the case of David Ellis Ippisch, a 40-year-old former bar owner who is accused of raping a woman in one of two bars he formerly owned in downtown Athens.
In court filings the DA's office said that two women, including an employee of Ippisch, would testify that they also were sexually assaulted by Ippisch.
Ippisch, 40, was indicted by a Clarke County grand jury on charges of rape and kidnapping for the alleged assault three months earlier of a 21-year-old victim, who is identified in court records as K.P.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, K.P. claimed she was raped on Nov. 25 2019 at The Hedges on Broad, one of two bars Ippisch owned on East Broad Street, near the University of Georgia campus that were popular student hangouts. He also owned the 100 Proof bar.
Ippisch’s defense attorneys have claimed that the sex was consensual.
However, a former employee of the bar called "C.Z.“would testify...that David Ippisch physically and sexually assaulted her on several, if not regular, occasions during the course of their roughly one to two-year relationship,” a prosecutor's stated in a motion. “Specifically, (R.D.) would testify that on several occasions the defendant raped her while she was semi-conscious or unconscious.”
Ippisch was not arrested or indicted for assaulting R.D. or the third alleged victim.
After hearing testimony that the former employee had been drinking at the time of the alleged assault,, identified in a prosecution motion as C.Z., returned to Athens in August 2019 to attend a wedding, and afterwards went with a friend to The Hedges, where she met Ippisch, who gave her mixed drinks in an area behind the bar “much like the Defendant did to the alleged victim in the charged incident,” the motion states.
Norris ruled that neither R.D. nor H.B. could testify because any evidence they offered “is substantially outweighed by the danger (of) unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
The judge ruled that any evidence from Ippisch’s former employee, C.Z., “Shall be excluded because it is not enough for a jury to determine by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant committed an offense of sexual assault against her."
The DA’s office immediately electronically filed a Notice of Direct Appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals on the grounds that “the evidence at issue is a substantial proof of material fact in Ippisch’s case.”
The Court of Appeals on June 30 issued notice it will take up the DA's appeal, but it has yet to schedule a deadline for the filing of briefs or set a date for oral arguments.
While awaiting trial, Ippisch is free on a $50,000 cash bond with the conditions he cannot have contact with the alleged victim, must wear an ankle monitor while residing with his parents in Cumming, cannot not leave Forsyth County except for medical appointments, and is barred from Athens-Clarke County unless he needs to meet with his attorneys.