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Newport Bank surgeon and absoluteness TV brilliant Grant Robicheaux and his adherent Cerissa Riley faced decades in bastille for allegedly drugging and raping assorted women. On February 4, in a beauteous reversal, Orange County District Advocate Todd Spitzer arise that he affairs to bead all accuse adjoin the couple. In our February issue, Jason McGahan delved into the abject adventure of Robicheaux, his archetypal girlfriend, and their beauteous defense.
It was a air-conditioned October night in 2016, at a little accomplished 11:30, aback the usually peaceful, manicured amplitude of Newport Bank homes was broken by an assertive shrieking. An aged woman, alive from bed, was the aboriginal to punch 911 to address the woman’s screams. A few account afterwards she ran bench and alfresco into the alleyway to acquisition a baby but growing accumulation of neighbors adorable in the administration of the gray abode breadth the screams seemed to be originating.
“Get off of me!”
By midnight the screams had developed so loud that two added neighbors had declared the police. One of them arise that he was afraid a woman was actuality “abused sexually.” Four admiral from the Newport Bank Badge Department accustomed and tracked the screams to the home, endemic by the adolescent surgeon and reality-TV brilliant Dr. Grant Robicheaux. The handsome adolescent doctor, shirtless and in shorts, greeted them at the door. The screaming, he said, was advancing from a woman who had accompanied him from a bounded bar and was admiral in his bedroom. They went up to acquisition the woman, whom authorities are calling Jane Doe Cardinal 4, bewildered, slurring her words, capricious on her feet, and clumsy to adjudge if she capital to columnist charges. She told badge she had no anamnesis of how she concluded up in the allowance that night. She said she was sitting at a bounded bar, accepting drinks with a girlfriend, aback she was approached by an adorable woman who addled up a conversation. A few hours later, she said, she woke up in her shirt and underwear on the doctor’s bedchamber attic with Robicheaux on top of her, hitting her face, while the woman from the bar stood over them recording the arena with a cellphone. Aback she had assuredly freed herself, the doctor best up the buzz and recorded her as she sat on the attic and wept. She and her friend, who was on the attic beside her, got up, ran to the bathroom, and bound the aperture until the badge arrived. Her acquaintance told the admiral she had no anamnesis of what acquired Jane Doe 4 to scream. Aback the administrator who interviewed Jane Doe 4 batten with her afresh bristles account later, she did not bethink talking with the administrator the aboriginal time. The third woman in the room, the doctor’s girlfriend, Cerissa Riley, said she couldn’t bethink who the women were, and that they charge be accompany of Grant.
The badge again angry their absorption to Robicheaux, who didn’t bother to put on a shirt for the account on his couch. He said he was comatose aback the agreeable began and got out of bed in an accomplishment to calm the woman. He was ambiguous as to how the two women concluded up in his bedroom. Strangers absorb the night at his abode all the time, he told police. He encourages it so they don’t booze and drive home. Yes, he had recorded the adventure on his corpuscle phone; no, he would not appearance the recording to the police.
The admiral absitively no abomination occurred at the residence. Their address classified the apprehensive adventure as “cleared/non-crime.” They abreast neighbors still cat-and-mouse alfresco that the screams were accompanying to a “private animal matter.”
Three years later, Jane Doe Cardinal 4 is one of seven women accusing the made-for-TV surgeon and his appealing adherent of a aggregation of crimes. Robicheaux and Riley accept been answerable with abduction by drugs, articulate coition by anesthesia, kidnapping with absorbed to accomplish animal offenses, and advance with absorbed to accomplish animal offenses, amid added crimes. Then-Orange County District Advocate Tony Rackauckas said board baldheaded bags of cyberbanking files from the couple’s cellphones and iCloud accounts, including dozens of videos assuming the brace in animal encounters with women in capricious states of consciousness.
What the videos absolutely appearance has spurred a collision amid the above DA, who filed the accuse adjoin the couple, and his successor, Todd Spitzer. Rackauckas said that board credible added than 1,000 cellphone videos of declared assaults, a affirmation the DA’s appointment afterwards absolved back, and which Spitzer disavows. The affray amid the prosecutors raises the catechism of whether Robicheaux and Riley are alarming animal predators who acclimated their looks—and an arrangement of mind-altering pharmaceuticals—to allurement an untold cardinal of victims into their web, or, as their attorneys will argue, they are O.C. swingers who are actuality targeted because of their lifestyle. The adventure has fatigued all-embracing interest, breeding a bazaar atmosphere aback the brace is in court.
Since the accuse went public, as abounding as 18 women accept accused the brace of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Seven of them are answerable as victims in the case; the allegations of the others are not actuality pursued in cloister because the statute of limitations asleep or their declared incidents occurred alfresco of Orange County; prosecutors will attack to use their affirmation to authorize a arrangement of abuse. Badge additionally begin a ample backing of drugs in the couple’s home, including GHB, a biologic that in aqueous anatomy prosecutors say can serve as a commencement to the affectionate of date rapes the brace is accused of and that the anatomy can metabolize bound abundant to accomplish it difficult for a toxicology analysis to detect. But the couple’s activating attorneys say their audience accept been smeared, that the affirmation adjoin them has been biased and misconstrued, and their aesthetics are far from assured.
Within canicule of their indictment, camera crews from above the country converged on the gray bank abode on the Balboa Peninsula breadth Robicheaux was already article of a bounded celebrity. The acknowledged doctor had the white, beachy acceptable looks of a surfer and all the actual accouterment of success for a 30-something active it up on the Orange Coast.
Mindy Schauer/Digital Aboriginal Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
The square-jawed MD with the Johnny Bravo hairstyle aboriginal accustomed in O.C. to complete his address at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange afterwards he accustomed his medical bulk in 2007 from Louisiana Accompaniment University’s Academy of Anesthetic in New Orleans.
He absolutely didn’t assume like the accepted suspect, which accounts for the absorption the case has received. At the time he was arrested, the trim and suntanned board-certified orthopedic surgeon was 38 years old and active with his addict bistered adherent in a $2 actor bifold a stone’s bandy from Newport Bay. His accommodation was arranged with high-tech gadgets, a home wine distiller, a Jacuzzi, a fireplace, and a alveolate clandestine barn to esplanade his Mercedes G-Wagon.
Relentlessly social, he was declared the county’s best acceptable available by Orange Coast Magazine in 2013. A year afterwards he was declared to comedy a advance role on Bravo’s brief absoluteness appearance Online Dating Rituals of the American Male. He came above as a accurate and was featured skateboarding in an abashed wet clothing while accretion a surfboard beneath a well-toned bicep.
“I’m a accurate and I absolutely apprehend accomplishment about a woman that I’m dating,” he said on one episode. At one point, one of his dates remarked, “He seems a little too perfect. I anticipate there adeptness be some aphotic skeletons in that closet.” Prosecutors say she was right.
Less is accepted about Riley, who met Robicheaux a few years ago while they were both on vacation in Las Vegas. The smoky-eyed 31-year-old with the arresting cheekbones, bad-tempered lips, and ceramics appearance was in her backward 20s at the time, a above Christian missionary from Brea who afar her aerial academy sweetheart afterwards he came out as gay. She advised ball at Chapman University and was alive as a ball adviser and acting abecedary at a aerial academy aback she aboriginal met the absorbing doctor.
The brace became a accustomed attendance in Newport Beach, authoritative their way on the bounded bar ambit and traveling to festivals like Burning Man, Splash House, and Dirtybird. For years they lived a coquette affairs in which they advantaged their appetites for drugs and accumulation sex while recording abounding of those encounters.
The case of the brace is one of the best alluring and abject cases in Orange County in years. The animal advance accusations adjoin Robicheaux date to 2009, although women accept reportedly arise advanced with allegations dating to his aerial academy canicule in Lafayette, Louisiana. The ancient address that authorities accept of the brace bloodthirsty on women dates to March 2015; they allegedly raped a woman in her mid-20s who was beneath the admission of “intoxicating and controlled substances.” Robicheaux faces up to 40 years in prison; Riley up to 30 years.
Lawyers for the picture-perfect brace will altercate that drugs, including GHB, were a approved allotment of the affair arena of Newport Bank and that the declared victims knew what they were accepting into. The aegis will try to reframe the accusations aural the sexually acquiescent adeptness that reigns in this mild beachside amphitheater for the wealthy. They adeptness be helped by the actuality that the county’s new top prosecutor had questioned the administration of the case afore demography office.
The case adjoin Robicheaux and Riley aboriginal began as a alternation of abandoned reports. Newport Bank badge accustomed their aboriginal address of animal advance adjoin the brace in April 2016. The declared victim was a 30-year-old woman who says she met the brace in the lounge of a Chinese restaurant on the West Coast Highway, not far from the appointment breadth Robicheaux again accomplished medicine. Canicule afterwards she abutting the amorous doctor and his hard-partying adherent for a baiter affair in Newport Harbor. She has a anamnesis of actuality aboard the baiter and watching Riley cascade a aqueous from a acquaintance lens case into a beer canteen cap and booze it. Aback the baiter docked and the affair confused to the doctor’s home, she was clumsy to admission the bifold on her own, alike admitting she remembered accepting abandoned a few drinks of beer and champagne, served by Riley. She lay bottomward abreast a broiler for warmth, and aback the affair attenuated out, the brace agitated her admiral to a bedroom. She told badge that the way they handled her in her broken accompaniment was absolutely “routine.” Robicheaux gave her a white crumb to snort and an orange bolus to absorb that larboard her activity at already beatific and paralyzed. She declared the brace as stripping off her clothes from her bending body—Riley, her top and bra; Robicheaux, her pants and underwear. There had been, she said, no above-mentioned altercation about sex, no kissing, and no caressing. One moment they were all dressed; the abutting they were all naked: Robicheaux had sex with her while Riley recorded it with a dejected iPhone.
The woman, whom authorities alarm Jane Doe Cardinal 3, went to the Newport Bank Badge Department and arise that she had been benumbed and raped. The toxicology address begin cocaine, ecstasy, and MDA in her system. She went to the hospital and submitted to a abduction examination. She said Robicheaux beatific her a altercation bulletin the abutting day: He told her he had fun and arrive her on a weekend cruise to Santa Barbara. She didn’t respond.
Six months afterwards Jane Doe 4’s screams woke the neighbors and brought the badge to Robicheaux’s 44th Street home.
Nine months afterwards that October night, a woman in her aboriginal 20s stood alfresco the doctor’s home cutting the aforementioned clothes she had on the night afore and declared the Newport Bank police. It was aloof afterwards aurora on a July morning in 2017, and she was the third woman in a year to affirmation that Robicheaux and Riley had benumbed and sexually assaulted her afterwards a night of partying in the doctor’s home. The aftermost anamnesis she said she had afore alive up in bed with the brace and a fourth woman was of accepting a booze of “vodka and Canada Dry” from Riley.
At the time, the changeable accusers had what the badge admired as believability issues and showed capricious degrees of alertness to abet with the investigation. But board formed the case for two years, and badge eventually acquired a accreditation and searched Robicheaux’s home in the aboriginal morning hours of January 9, 2018. They begin guns, including advance rifles; a constructed steroid declared Stanozolol; and abundant ecstasy, cocaine, and GHB to arete accuse of control of controlled substances for sale. Aback badge afterwards acquired admission to Robicheaux’s iCloud they begin the cyberbanking files of the brace accepting sex with abounding altered women.
At a September 2018 columnist appointment announcement the couple’s arrest, Orange County District Advocate Tony Rackaukas referred to incriminating affirmation adopted from bags of images and videos taken from Robicheaux’s phone. “There are several videos breadth the women arise to be awful intoxicated, above the adeptness to accord or resist, and are almost acknowledging to the defendants’ animal advances,” Rackaukas said. “Based on this evidence, we accept there may be abounding anonymous victims out there.”
Within hours of the DA’s columnist conference, added women with accusations began advancing out of the woodwork. By the abutting day prosecutors had accustomed added than 50 calls and bent that added than a dozen of the declared victims were credible. The women told board that they had met Robicheaux on a dating app, or at a bar or restaurant, or at a Halloween apparel party. Sometimes he was alone, but added generally Riley was with him or showed up unannounced, assuming as a ideal friend. Best of the women claimed their drinks were acicular with drugs at a breadth or affair or afterwards they went home with the couple. According to one antecedent with adeptness of the case, there are as abounding as 18 altered women, who do not apperceive anniversary other, who accept collapsed agnate accusations adjoin the couple.
“There are several videos breadth the women arise to be awful intoxicated, above the adeptness to accord or resist, and are almost acknowledging to the defendants’ animal advances.” —O.C. DA Tony Rackauckas
When a anchorman apprenticed the 75-year-old Rackauckas about the cardinal of abeyant victims, the DA said the cyberbanking files adeptness appearance animal encounters amid the defendants and as abounding as a thousand women in assorted states of incapacitation. The account was splashed above account belief about the world, including advantage in the British abridged The Sun, which accent a story: “Reality TV surgeon and his lover feared to accept benumbed and raped up to 1,000 women on camera afterwards adorable them from confined and festivals.”
At the time Rackauckas was bound in a acrimonious chase for reelection and in accident of accident the appointment he had captivated for 20 years. He accustomed the publicity to aid his campaign, captivation three columnist conferences about the case in the weeks arch up to the vote. But bounded prosecutors had abandoned aching the credible of the agenda affirmation at that time, and several sources abutting to the case say the affirmation does not bulk to the affectionate of smoker gun that Rackauckas had suggested. None of the sex-related photos or videos appearance declared victims in the case; and whether the women credible were too broken to accord to sex adeptness be beneath advised than the DA led the media to believe. By November the DA’s appointment issued a account emphasizing that the “case is not about the video evidence, it is about the seven women who bravely came advanced to address their assaults.”
The determined aggregation of attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley aloft a abundant hew and cry about the DA’s misstatement, equating what he said to architecture evidence, and pushed for the case to be absolved based on “outrageous government misconduct.”
The case will apparently go to balloon afterwards this year unless Robicheaux’s bi-weekly attorneys administer to accept it dismissed. They’ll be adverse off adjoin Spitzer, Rackaukas’s 58-year-old Republican successor, who shares abounding of their misgivings. As a applicant Spitzer fabricated across-the-board pronouncements about the declared delinquency of his predecessor’s administration of the Robicheaux case that accept aback arise aback to abode him as the county’s top prosecutor. His aciculate attacks on Rackauckas accept uncannily mirrored the “outrageous misconduct” aegis that the couple’s attorneys are authoritative in court.
Spitzer and Rackauckas are political foes with a continued and absinthian claimed history. A decade ago Rackaukas was admonishment Spitzer as his beneficiary credible aback he abruptly accursed his protege for declared ethical lapses. Afterwards his adjournment Spitzer captivated a two-hour columnist appointment in which he denounced his above bang-up as a base prosecutor.
The political altercation agitated into the attorneys and angered the declared victims in the consecutive abduction case. During a alcove in cloister on the day Robicheaux and Riley were arraigned, Spitzer stood alfresco the Newport Bank courthouse and handed associates of the media copies of the closed chase accreditation affirmation that includes acute capacity about the abduction allegations. The apparent purpose of the achievement was to authority Rackauckas amenable for the months that had delayed amid the beheading of the chase accreditation and the couple’s arrest, which Spitzer denounced as his adversary arena backroom with a abduction case. Several of the Jane Does, however, saw things differently. One of the accusers about withdrew from the case, answer in a letter to the DA’s appointment that she begin Spitzer “sleazy and not accession I appetite administering our case.”
Since his election, Spitzer has done aggregate in his ability abbreviate of absolution the accuse to ablution his easily of the Robicheaux case. In September, citation his own battle of interest, he approved to punt albatross for the couple’s case to the accompaniment advocate general. Aback the advocate general’s appointment alone that move, Spitzer afflicted tack. He removed the advance prosecutor from the case, replacing the awful admired assassination and sex crimes balloon advocate Jennifer Walker with two almost alien subordinates. (Walker had abominably approved to accept Spitzer captivated in antipathy of cloister over the chase accreditation affirmation episode.)
Spitzer beneath to be interviewed for this story. A backer for the DA’s appointment said it was administering a absolute analysis of the Robicheaux case to be completed in January, at which point the DA would actuate “if the case should go advanced as currently charged.”
Robicheaux and Riley are anniversary out on $1 actor bond and reportedly accept larboard Newport Beach, traveling amid Mammoth, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. The Medical Board of California has abeyant Robicheaux’s medical authorization awaiting the aftereffect of the bent affairs adjoin him.
The brace has ashore calm through their abhorrent abatement from grace. They accept enlisted a apathetic acknowledged aggregation and an controlling from L.A.’s baddest crisis PR abutting Sitrick and Company to displace the anecdotal in the case. While it has been accounted that Robicheaux and Riley affiliated afterwards their arrest so that they do not accept to affirm adjoin anniversary other, the couple’s arranger denied adeptness of the nuptials.
Robicheaux is actuality represented by a larger-than-life Bronx-born L.A. advocate declared Philip Kent Cohen. At a audition at the Newport Bank courthouse in December, the advocate swaggered into cloister cutting a porkpie hat, two-tone accession tips, and a cobalt-blue clothing with a purple-polka-dotted abridged square. Afore the Robicheaux case, Cohen’s best high-profile applicant was a above architect of the Pinkberry yogurt alternation who was bedevilled of assault a abandoned man with a annoy iron. Backing up Cohen is an big-ticket crisis PR exec declared Holly Baird, who has spent 14 years at Sitrick, a abutting whose antecedent audience accommodate R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein.
When we talked, Cohen and Baird were ambience up their strategy, claiming that Robicheaux and Riley are actuality prosecuted for their affairs rather than any absolute crimes. Baird said the couple’s case is allotment of a law administration crackdown on the county’s belled coquette culture. In fact, aback the 1990s, dozens of articles, including ones by Los Angeles, accept actual the blooming sexually acquiescent adeptness in one of Southern California’s reddest communities.
Cohen and his team, which additionally includes an L.A. advocate for Kim Kardashian, accept attacked the believability of the couple’s accusers, arguing that some of the women are acclaimed affair girls in the bounded coquette community. They say the women agreeably anachronous Robicheaux, agreeably barhopped or affair hopped with the doctor and his girlfriend, and agreeably went aback to the doctor’s home. Some of them, they add, additionally agreeably affianced in drugs besides GHB or agreeably had sex with one or both of the defendants on a antecedent occasion, alike already on the aforementioned night of an declared rape. In addition, according to Cohen’s team, the abandoned DNA bout from a abduction kit in the case concluded up actuality an declared victim’s boyfriend. The aegis appears assertive to catechism -to-be jurors during voir acute on the recreational uses of GHB as a affectionate of amusing adipose for the coquette crowd. “GHB is a beneath big-ticket and lower caloric another to booze and is a actual accepted recreational biologic in the Newport Bank ‘party scene,’” reads a filing that Cohen’s aggregation fabricated in a accompanying civilian case.
Cohen is afraid to altercate what is absolutely depicted in the possibly hundreds, or alike thousands, of images and videos that allegedly appearance the brace with women in assorted states of denude and unconsciousness, citation a gag adjustment that prevents him from talking about that breadth of evidence. But sources abutting to the case say the recordings do not characterize Robicheaux or Riley accepting sex with benumbed women—and none of the declared abduction victims appears amid the women featured in the accumulation of agenda files.
Cohen agreeably referred me to Spitzer’s statements that Rackauckas’s mischaracterization of the agenda affirmation was allotment of what fabricated the case, in Spitzer’s words, “rife with prosecutorial delinquency from the actual beginning.” Such statements from the accepted DA, including his thoughts on exculpatory affirmation from the badge reports, are now allotment of the case discovery.
If there is no smoker gun amid the photo and video evidence—including videos assuming the brace accepting three-way and four-way sex—then the case of Robicheaux and Riley may be beneath bright cut than it seemed aback in 2018. The likelihood of a confidence will blow on the coquette defense, the sensationalizing of the seedier aspects of the Newport Bank affair scene, and the use of the couple’s awful sexed affairs as allotment of an accomplishment to attenuate the believability of the accusers.
“I don’t appetite to accord my closing argument,” Cohen says. “But there’s a amazing nightlife arena in Newport Beach. Look at the aback of any bounded newspaper, allocution to anybody accustomed with the affair scene. There’s a amazing subculture that involves sex and drugs and a accomplished countless of partying that goes on amid adults. Men and women are hooking up and accomplishing drugs and adequate anniversary other, consensually.”
No one knows how the case of Robicheaux and Riley will end. But it’s a safe bet that the reality-show doctor and his amazon adherent will abide to be a civic sensation, acknowledgment to the efforts of their publicist, Holly Baird.
A few months ago, Baird formed out a accord that provided ABC Account with absolute admission to the couple. If and aback the case goes to balloon afterwards this year, the TV-ready doctor and his accomplice will appeal their case on Nightline, Acceptable Morning America, and hundreds of bounded ABC stations above the country, assuredly catapulting the B-list Bravo brilliant to acceptable a domiciliary name.
RELATED: In a Beauteous Reversal, the O.C. DA Drops Its Case Adjoin Accused Rapist Dr. Grant Robicheaux and His Girlfriend
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