California judge removes local prosecutors from case of reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women after DA's office tried to drop the case

A California judge has removed local prosecutors from the rape case against a reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women.
Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones said Thursday the Orange County DA's office is 'hopelessly conflicted' in the prosecution of Dr Grant Robicheaux, 39, and Cerissa Riley, 32, and ordered the case be handed over to the state. 
Robicheaux - who appeared on one episode of the Bravo reality TV show 'Online Dating Rituals of the American Male' - and Riley were charged in 2018 with sexually assaulting seven women when their alleged victims were drunk or incapacitated.  
The couple denied the charges, claiming they were swingers who met the women for consensual sex. 
Thursday's ruling marks the latest legal see-sawing in the case, following a shock u-turn back in February where the DA announced the charges were being dropped only for a judge to refuse to dismiss them in the eleventh hour. 
It comes weeks after the judge was forced to defend his own role in the case after the attorneys for the accused also fought to remove him.
A California judge has removed local prosecutors from the rape case against a reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women. Dr Grant Robicheaux and girlfriend Cerissa Riley pictured
A California judge has removed local prosecutors from the rape case against a reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women. Dr Grant Robicheaux and girlfriend Cerissa Riley pictured 
Judge Jones on Thursday took the rare step to disqualify local prosecutors from the case citing 'serious concerns' over the DA office's handling of it. 
'I have serious questions about the district attorney's office ability to proceed on this case,' Jones said. 
'I think they are hopelessly conflicted.' 
In September 2018, then-Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas said the couple abused up to 1,000 women and that he had troves of video evidence to prove it.  

However, in February this year, the new DA Todd Spitzer said there was no evidence to support the allegations and that the charges against the pair would be dropped. 
Spitzer accused his predecessor of using the case to try to bolster his re-election campaign - the campaign he then lost out to Spitzer on.  
Jones pointed to the conflict between the two versions of events Thursday, saying Spitzer had described the case as a 'travesty'.
In September 2018, then-Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas (pictured) said the couple abused up to 1,000 women and that he had troves of video evidence to prove it
However, in February this year, new DA Todd Spitzer (pictured) said there was no evidence to support the allegations and the charges would be dropped
In September 2018, then-Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas (left) said the couple abused up to 1,000 women and that he had troves of video evidence to prove it. However, in February this year, new DA Todd Spitzer (right) said there was no evidence to support the allegations and the charges would be dropped
Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones (pictured) said Thursday the Orange County DA's office is 'hopelessly conflicted' in the prosecution of the case. Jones was also forced to defend his own role in the case after the attorneys for the accused also fought to remove him
Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones (pictured) said Thursday the Orange County DA's office is 'hopelessly conflicted' in the prosecution of the case. Jones was also forced to defend his own role in the case after the attorneys for the accused also fought to remove him
The current DA accused Rackauckas of 'manufacturing' the case and had apologized to Robicheaux and Riley, Jones said.  
Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer told the judge the DA's office remains 'steadfast in its belief the evidence is insufficient to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.' 
Zimmer said the office cannot ethically take the case to trial. 
Robicheaux's attorney Philip Cohen added: 'The district attorney's office has said there is not probable cause to proceed on this case, period.'
Jones ordered the DA's office to hand the case over to the California Attorney General's Office and for local prosecutors to turn over all evidence to state prosecutors.  
The judge's order is the latest twist in the bizarre case involving the surgeon and his girlfriend. 
The couple are accused of preying on drunk women in bars in Newport Beach and at festivals before sexually assaulting them.   
One victim, a 32-year-old woman, said she met the couple at a restaurant in Newport Beach in April 2016 and they invited her to party on a boat.
When the woman became intoxicated the couple allegedly took her to Robicheaux's apartment, plied her with drugs and raped her. 
Robicheaux and Riley pair were charged in 2018 with sexually assaulting multiple women while they were incapacitated
Robicheaux and Riley pair were charged in 2018 with sexually assaulting multiple women while they were incapacitated
The couple claim they are swingers who met the women for consensual sex
The couple claim they are swingers who met the women for consensual sex
Another victim says she was drinking with the couple in a bar in Newport Beach and passed out.
She says she woke up to the couple sexually assaulting her. 
Robicheaux and Riley pleaded not guilty in October 2018 to 17 felony counts each, including rape by use of drugs, assault with intent to commit a sexual offense, and possession of a controlled substance for sale to drugging and sexually assaulting multiple victims. 
Robicheaux was charged in connection with seven alleged victims and faces 82 years to life in prison if convicted. 
Riley was charged over five alleged victims and faces 63 years to life.  
In September 2018, Rackauckas said 'hundreds' of incriminating videos had been found on the couple's phones and said there could be as many as 1,000 victims. 
The couple's defense argued no such videos exist.   
Rackauckas then lost the office to Spitzer in November 2018 and Rackauckas admitted in a June 2019 deposition 'he had used the case to garner media attention to help his re-election campaign'.
Spitzer ordered a review of the case and said 'there was not a single video or photograph depicting an incapacitated woman being sexually assaulted by Robicheaux or Riley.' 
Spitzer said an internal investigation into the case had been launched. 
In February 2020, Spitzer made the shock announcement that his office was dropping the case and apologized to the couple.
Robicheaux is seen on a 2014 episode of Bravo's 'Online Dating Rituals of the American Male'
Robicheaux is seen on a 2014 episode of Bravo's 'Online Dating Rituals of the American Male' 
Robicheaux or Riley made an appearance on Good Morning America following the news where they protested their innocence and spoke of their relief at the news. 
The couple's lawyers said it was highly likely they would be taking legal action. 
But two days later, Judge Jones dropped another bombshell in the case when he refused to dismiss the charges against them after hearing statements from two of the alleged victims.
One alleged victim insisted that she still believed herself to have been sexually assaulted and was left 'distraught' by the collapse of the case while another described Robicheaux as 'a psychopath' and claimed she had been subjected to 'a campaign of harassment' by a private investigator employed by his legal team. 
The judge said he would take the decision under submission and asked attorneys for all parties to prepare final arguments to be handed to him. 
In June, Jones refused to dismiss the charges against the couple.
The judge then had to defend his own role in the case earlier this month, after attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley tried to have him removed from the case citing 'the appearance of bias'.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner ruled Jones can continue to preside over the case.
A hearing has now been scheduled for August 27 to discuss transferring the case to the state.  
California judge removes local prosecutors from case of reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women after DA's office tried to drop the case California judge removes local prosecutors from case of reality TV surgeon and his model girlfriend accused of drugging and raping up to 1,000 women after DA's office tried to drop the case Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:38 Rating: 5

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