California doctor and girlfriend once again charged with drugging a woman

An Orange County Superior Court judge on Thursday allowed prosecutors to refile criminal charges against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend in the high-profile case that he had recently thrown out.

Judge Michael Leversen’s decision means that Dr. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley are both charged with poisoning a woman and providing her with PCP, while Riley is also charged with providing her with cocaine. An additional half-dozen charges against Robicheaux remain, all of which are related to various drugs and allegedly illegal weapons discovered by police during a search of his home.

Following a string of legal setbacks, including the same judge earlier this year dismissing far more serious sexual assault-related charges that drew international attention to the case, prosecutors celebrated a courtroom victory on Thursday. However, during a hearing at the Fullerton courthouse, the defense team indicated that they will soon ask for the dismissal of all remaining charges.

After years of arguing in court about whether Robicheaux and Riley were “swingers” who had consensual sex with women or predators who befriended women at Newport Beach nightclubs before drugging and raping them, the decision to dismiss the sexual assault charges — due to a lack of convincing evidence — has essentially turned it into a drug and guns case involving a single alleged victim rather than the 13 initial accusers. It is currently being prosecuted by the California Attorney General’s Office, after a judge removed the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from the case several years ago.

The three criminal charges were reinstated in response to allegations made by a woman who met Robicheaux on a dating app while visiting Orange County on Easter weekend in 2017. Riley also showed up at what she thought was going to be a date with Robicheaux at Nobu Newport Beach, according to the woman, and Riley allegedly convinced her to take cocaine. The woman claimed she later awoke at Robicheaux’s Newport Beach apartment, where she claimed the couple gave her a PCP-laced drink while attempting to persuade her to have sex with them.

The judge was asked on Thursday whether it was past the statute of limitations for the poisoning and drug furnishing charges, and thus too late for Robicheaux and Riley to be prosecuted for those alleged crimes.

Prosecutors argued that because the couple was previously charged with drugging the woman in order to kidnap and rape her, the statute of limitations was effectively paused. The defense argued that the poisoning and drug-supply charges could not stand on their own because there was insufficient evidence to pursue sexual assault charges.

Judge Leversen ultimately sided with the prosecutors, noting that there was no clear answer to the defense’s questions. According to the judge, a jury will have to decide whether or not it was willing drug use among consensual adults.

Robicheaux’s attorney, Philip Cohen, told the judge that the defense intends to file a motion to dismiss all charges due to the statute of limitations issues. A hearing on the subject was scheduled for October 20.

If the charges are not dismissed, the defense has indicated that they will seek a jury trial as soon as possible. A tentative trial date of November 29 has been set.

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