Prosecutors Request Most Charges Be Dropped In Sexual Assault Case Against OC Surgeon, Grant Robicheaux, And Girlfriend
SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – In a case that has seen multiple twists and turns, state prosecutors Friday asked a judge to drop most of the charges against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend who have been accused of drugging and raping several women.
In a hearing in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana Friday morning, the California Attorney General's Office asked a judge to drop six of the purported victims from the case, but still try the couple on charges involving one alleged victim.
Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 40 had originally been charged in connection with seven victims, while Cerissa Laura Riley, 33, had been charged with five.
Riley wiped away tears as she sat in a Santa Ana courtroom next to her co-defendant former surgeon Robicheaux Friday.
The Deputy Attorney General is asking a judge to amend the criminal complaint against the pair which would eliminate sex and drug charges for six of the seven women. Prosecutor Yvette Martinez explained it this way to Judge Steven Bromberg.
"The prosecutor now seeks charges that involve one alleged victim who claims she was drugged with the intent to commit rape. It's a case that could get Robicheaux and Riley at least 10 years in prison," said Martinez Friday. "If the judge allows the criminal charges to be amended. Otherwise, if the case continues as it's presently alleged, the couple could face life in prison if they are convicted."
The attorney for the alleged victim also spoke.
"Obviously, the victims are not in favor of this," said Mike Fell "They object to this. The Attorney General's is position is they reviewed everything they do not feel they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt as it relates to six of the seven victims."
The judge will review the request and is expected to make his ruling next month.
"Our position is, allow the victims to testify, allow the victims to be confronted by whatever the prosecuting agencies believe are the problems in the case, and let's determine whether the case can go forward from there," Mike Fell, an attorney for one of the alleged victims, told CBSLA after Friday's hearing. "That's our position, that's the victims' position."
Back in September of 2018, Robicheaux and Riley were charged with 17 counts each, including rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anesthesia, assault with intent to commit sexual offense and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
At the time, then-Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said that Robicheaux and Riley would meet their victims at local bars and restaurants, drug them and then take them home and sexually assault them. Rackauckas claimed investigators had about 1,000 of these videos on the suspects' phones.
However, in February of 2020, new O.C. DA Todd Spitzer held a shocking news conference in which he said that he had assigned new prosecutors to the case after he took office, and their review found no evidence of unconscious women being assaulted.
Spitzer accused his predecessor, Rackauckas, of possible prosecutorial misconduct: sensationalizing the case and driving it forward as a publicity stunt to further his own re-election efforts. Spitzer, a longtime O.C. Supervisor, defeated Rackauckas in the DA's race in November of 2018.
Spitzer announced that his office would request that charges against Robicheaux and Riley be dismissed after a review of the case found a lack of evidence and a mishandling of the case by the previous DA.
However, after considering Spitzer's request, in June of 2020 OC Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones announced that he would not dismiss the charges. The following month, Spitzer's office was removed from the case and replaced by the California AG.
Both Robicheaux and Riley have previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and remain free on bail.
The judge is set to make his decision on the criminal charges on July 20, 2021.
Robicheaux was featured on Bravo's show "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male" back in 2014.
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