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Trial begins for doctor who allegedly poisoned ex-lover's coffee

Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, a leading breast cancer specialist, is on trial for poisoning a fellow cancer researcher, who was also her lover at the time
Oncologist accused of poisoning lover and coworker's coffee 03:12

A leading breast cancer specialist is on trial Monday for allegedly poisoning her ex-lover and fellow cancer researcher's coffee.

As one of the most respected oncologists in the world, Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo received plenty of praise for her work, reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.

"One of my aunts died with lung cancer when she was 35 and I was 10, so that was when I made the decision that this is what I wanted to do," Gonzalez-Angulo said in a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation profile video from 2012.

However, prosecutors are expected to allege that the doctor, known for trying to cure her patients, tried poisoning fellow Dr. George Blumenschein when their "casual sexual relationship" turned sour.

Gonzalez-Angulo is accused of lacing two cups of Blumenschein's coffee with ethylene glycol, a colorless and odorless chemical found in anti-freeze and widely available at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where both doctors work.

According to court documents, Gonzalez-Angulo made Blumenschein the coffee at her apartment. When he said it tasted "sweet" and that he liked his coffee "black," she allegedly told him it was just Splenda.

Four hours later, Blumenschein "began experiencing slurred speech, poor balance, and loss of fine motor skills." Twelve hours after that, he was admitted to a hospital emergency center.

Blumenschein survived, but suffered severe kidney damage.

Gonzalez-Angulo has pleaded not guilty. Still, prosecutors have accused the doctor of making incriminating statements.

They reportedly said they had secretly recorded her on the phone bragging that she had "people assassinated" before and that she takes care of things "the Colombian way."

In a statement, her attorney Derek Hollingsworth told CBS News: "Dr. Gonzalez has been accused of something she did not do. Our first priority is to make sure the jury has the evidence to see that."

The aggravated assault trial is expected to last two weeks, and a jury of seven women and five men will eventually decide her fate.

Both Gonzalez-Angulo and Blumenschein are still employed by MD Anderson, although the hospital tells CBS News the trial is not about Anderson's medical capabilities -- it's related to personal matters between people who just happen to work there.

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