A Newport Seashore surgeon and his girlfriend who drew worldwide headlines after native prosecutors accused them of drugging and raping seven girls won’t face trial on any sexual assault-related costs, a decide dominated on Friday, July 7, successfully gutting a case that had already been drastically pared again to give attention to solely two alleged victims amid years of political controversy.
Whereas lesser drug possession, gun and poisoning-related costs stay, Orange County Superior Court docket Decide Michael Leversen on Friday morning dominated there isn’t sufficient proof to assist the allegations of drugging and assault with intent to commit a sexual offense that comprised the guts of the criminal case against Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley and led to years of courtroom debate over whether or not the pair are “swingers” or predators.
Prosecutors argued that testimony confirmed two girls — referred to in court docket proceedings by the pseudonyms Jane Doe 1 and a pair of — met Robicheaux and Riley on separate events at Newport Seashore nightspots, have been shortly befriended by the couple who purchased them drinks — and gave one in every of them cocaine — to get them intoxicated earlier than they awoke later at Robicheaux’s Balboa Peninsula house in a state of undress.
“What are the probabilities that two girls, strangers to at least one one other, will describe comparable nights years aside?” Deputy Lawyer Basic Namita Patel requested the decide. “And what’s their motive to make it up?”
Attorneys representing Robicheaux and Riley argued that contradictions within the varied interviews that Jane Doe 1 gave to investigators over time made her unreliable, and mentioned there isn’t any proof within the recollections by Jane Doe 2 that both of the defendants had really tried to sexually assault her towards her will.
“The proof launched on the preliminary listening to displays that Robicheaux and Riley have been in a ‘swinging’ relationship, used and shared medication and alcohol, and generally invited different girls to hitch them in intercourse. None of that makes them rapists,” the protection attorneys wrote in a current transient to the decide. “The federal government’s case rests on the unfounded assumption that anybody who engages in informal intercourse whereas ingesting and utilizing medication additionally intends to rape anybody who elects to occasion with them however finally opts to not be part of them in a sexual encounter.”
Attorneys for the couple sharply criticized prosecutors for not dismissing the case earlier, arguing that Robicheaux and Riley’s reputations have been irreparably broken, and will by no means get better.
“It has been devastating to see what has occurred to him, to his future,” Lawyer Philip Cohen mentioned of Robicheaux.
Riley sobbed because the decide introduced his ruling that there wasn’t sufficient proof to proceed on the sexual assault-related costs. Each Riley and Robicheaux — who’ve attended each court docket listening to collectively — embraced and congratulated their attorneys following the ruling.
For the reason that ruling came at the end of a preliminary hearing there was a decrease burden of proof, with the decide solely required to search out possible trigger that the defendants ought to face the fees fairly than the upper legal jury trial commonplace of “past an inexpensive doubt.” Not like a jury trial, investigators have been in a position to testify on behalf of the alleged victims, fairly than the girl having to take the stand.
Jane Doe 1 instructed investigators that she was out ingesting and dancing with a roommate at Baja Sharkeez when Riley met and befriended the pair, introducing them to Robicheaux. After taking just a few sips of a drink Robicheaux purchased her, Jane Doe 1 instructed investigators that she “blanked out,” waking up later in a state of undress subsequent to her topless roommate in Robicheaux’s darkish bed room.
Unable to get up her roommate, Jane Doe 1 instructed investigators, she discovered Robicheaux in a toilet and requested him what was happening, at which level she claimed Robicheaux grabbed her arms and instructed her, “You needed this, you needed to come back again right here.” A wrestle between Jane Doe 1 and Robicheaux ensued, the girl instructed investigators, wherein he struck her till she screamed and Riley walked up and instructed Robicheaux, “It’s going too far, it isn’t value it.”
Listening to the screams, neighbors referred to as 911. Officers in studies and later interviews mentioned Jane Doe 1 instructed them that night time that she hadn’t been sexually assaulted. However, in an interview with prosecutors shortly earlier than the current preliminary listening to, Jane Doe 1 reportedly mentioned she had instructed the officers that she had been sexually assaulted however they didn’t consider her and had laughed at her.
Jane Doe 2 met Robicheaux on a courting app whereas visiting Orange County on Easter weekend in 2017, and the 2 met up at Nobu Newport Seashore. Jane Doe 2 mentioned she was shocked that Riley was additionally there, since she thought it was a date, however indicated she warmed as much as Riley and had drinks with the couple and agreed to take cocaine Riley allegedly provided her.
The remainder of the night time was hazy, Jane Doe 2 instructed investigators, however she remembered the couple touching her and Robicheaux taking off her shirt, Robicheaux handing her a drink he had put some type of substance into and locking herself into a toilet till she may name an Uber and go away. Jane Doe 2 recalled Riley at one level telling her “You don’t must do something you don’t need to,” and Riley later telling her “He makes me do that” referring to Robicheaux.
A police search of Robicheaux’s house allegedly turned up cocaine, the drug Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, and MDMA, or Ectasy, in addition to two unregistered weapons, a Bushmaster rifle and a Century Arms RAS47 rifle.
Throughout testimony within the preliminary listening to, the protection attorneys repeatedly requested why investigators didn’t query obvious inconsistencies, significantly in Jane Doe 1’s a number of interviews. Additionally they famous that Jane Doe 1’s roommate — with whom she apparently had a falling out — instructed investigators that “(Jane Doe 1) tends to suppose everyone seems to be attempting to do sexual issues to her.”
The case was first introduced in a high-profile information convention in 2018, when then-District Lawyer Tony Rackauckas described the couple as assembly a collection of girls in bars and eating places, drugging them and luring them again to Robicheaux’s house to sexually assault them. An orthopedic surgeon, Robicheaux had appeared on a Bravo tv present, “On-line Relationship Rituals of the American Male.”
After unseating Rackauckas, present District Lawyer Todd Spitzer accused his predecessor of mishandling the case, apologized to the couple and moved to have the charges dismissed. Attorneys representing the ladies fought again, and a decide refused to log out on what he described as a “back-room dismissal” in a case that had been “contaminated” by politics.
The decide opted as an alternative to take the rare step of removing the DA’s office from the case and turning it over to the state Attorney General’s office. At that time, there have been nonetheless seven alleged victims.
A decide later agreed to dismiss charges related to two of the women, who determined they not needed to be concerned after deciding that they had been “grossly mistreated” and “dragged via the mud.”
Then, a 3rd decide agreed to a request by the Lawyer Basic’s Workplace to dismiss charges related to three other women, leaving two remaining alleged victims. State prosecutors instructed the decide that they had walked right into a “political firestorm” once they took on the case, and whereas they weren’t saying they didn’t consider the alleged victims, they believed they couldn’t show the legal allegations that they had determined to dismiss.
Each prosecutors and protection attorneys declined to remark after Friday’s ruling.
Robicheaux and Riley as soon as confronted many years in jail had they been convicted of the fees introduced by the previous DA in 2018. It wasn’t instantly clear what they face if they’re convicted of the present, drastically pared-back costs. The arraignment on these costs is July 19.
No trial date has been set.
- Decide throws out sexual assault costs towards California surgeon and girlfriend
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