Charges were expected to be dropped against an orthopedic surgeon and his girlfriend on Friday after the Orange County district attorney said he wanted to dismiss the case and claimed his predecessor had “manufactured” the case. In a stunning twist, however, a judge declined to dismiss the charges based on the district attorney’s word and instead said he needed more time to decide whether he will grant the dismissal.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley, a substitute teacher, were accused luring women to their Newport Beach, California home, drugging them, and then raping them. From The Daily Wire:
In September 2018, then-district attorney Tony Rackauckas said during a press conference that investigators had “hundreds” of videos taken from the couple’s phones showing evidence that they had drugged and raped the women and then filmed the crimes. He was asked during that press conference whether the number could approach one thousand, and Rackauckas said, “I think so.”
Rackauckas lost his re-election bid a few months later. The new DA, Todd Spitzer, decided to re-investigate the case after he saw an unsealed deposition from Rackauckas explaining that he hoped the case against Robicheaux and Riley would help him get re-elected.
Spitzer reopened the case, and said during a press conference that a “team of prosecutors with a combined 175 years of experience determined there is no provable evidence that Robicheaux and Riley committed any sexual offense.” Spitzer then accused his predecessor of manufacturing the case.
“The prior District Attorney and his chief of staff manufactured this case and repeatedly misstated the evidence to lead the public and vulnerable women to believe that these two individuals plied up to 1,000 women with drugs and alcohol in order to sexually assault them—and videotape the assaults,” Spitzer said.
“As a result of the complete case review I ordered beginning in July, we now know that there was not a single video or photograph depicting an unconscious or incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted,” he added.
A judge on Friday said he needed more information about the case and the alleged evidence behind it before dismissing the charges, ABC 7 reported. Spitzer remained hopeful that the judge would eventually dismiss the case, saying the judge “has been involved in this case from its inception and it is completely reasonable that he would want a thorough understanding of the facts.”
The judge, according to ABC 7, added that politics were evident in the case and he needed to sort through the competing claims. As the outlet reported, both sides must submit final argument briefs by March 19. The next hearing is set for April 3.
An attorney for the accused couple, Philip Cohen, told the outlet that even if the charges are dismissed the defendants have had their lives ruined.
“The biggest problem in this case continues – what do Grant and Cerissa do with the rest of their lives and what confidence can the public have that they are not rapists, they’re not monsters, that they’re not villains?” Cohen said.
Then, of course, there are the attorneys representing women claiming to be victims of the couple.
“This gives us an opportunity to also evaluate the information to understand why the DA is making the decision that they’re making and for us to object if we’d like to judge if we’d like that charge to remain,” said one of the accuser’s attorneys, Mike Fell.