Attorneys for a Newport Beach doctor and his girlfriend, who are charged with drugging and sexually assaulting numerous women, have demanded a hearing on Monday regarding a gag order on the case while a judge mulls a motion from prosecutors to dismiss charges.
The move on behalf of Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley was made in response to a motion by an attorney for four of the victims filed last week that suggested Orange County Superior Court Judge Greg Jones reject the move to dismiss the case and assign it to the state Attorney General's Office or a special prosecutor.
Jones had earlier ordered the attorneys involved in the case to file evidence under seal that he could consider as he weighed whether to approve the motion from prosecutors to dismiss charges. A motion filed by defense attorneys on Wednesday asks the judge for "clarification" from him "with regards to the sealing requirements, if any," in the case.
Defense attorneys say they believed any further filings would be done under seal.
Local news from across Southern California
"Unfortunately, to the irreparable detriment of the defendants, the Marsy's attorneys, and each of them, have publicly represented to the media what they believe to be the state of the evidence in this case and, even more egregiously, one attorney has filed an unsealed memorandum in, what the defense believes to be, direct contravention of the court's prior sealing order," the motion reads.
The attorneys argued that the motion filed by attorney Matthew Murphy, who represents four of the victims, "represent a clear attempt to prejudice the public, the prejudice any potential jury pool and presumably to prejudice the court with respect to the future of this case."
Attorney Michael Fell, who represents one of the alleged victims, told City News Service, "The victims' voices will not be stifled. Their voices will be heard with respect to the rules of court and rules of law. But the defense's attempt to quiet our client will not be successful."
Fell disagreed that Murphy's filing violated the court order because the victims are not "parties to the action," though Marsy's Law does extend them "certain rights, including the right to be heard."
Murphy responded, "Of course they want to silence the victims. And, remember, (defense attorney Philip) Cohen has done perhaps two dozen media interviews, (District Attorney) Todd Spitzer held a nationally televised press conference, and the defendants actually went on 'Good Morning America.'
But when the victims respond, by properly filing a legal brief with the court, they think we need an emergency hearing to shut them up. The problem for the defense is that these women have rights."
Cohen told City News Service, "I don't want to shut them up at all. I want all of their statements to come out. All of their statements, which include initial police reports and their interviews, whenever any statement was made in court."
Cohen argued that the statements from the women are "contradictory" and help bolster the defense's case.
"It is Mr. Murphy and Mr. Fell who try to stop the defense from speaking, so let's put all of the facts out there, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Fell and withdraw any claim of private privilege and let's have a public discussion about the statements in all of the police reports for every client of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Fell. I welcome that discussion any time and in any form," Cohen said.
"What I'm asking for is the court to clarify if I can go public with all of the information we have. It is unfair to allow one party… to use a filing as a sword, but then to use a status as a shield. It is absolutely inequitable and unfair and what I would like the court to do is to say the Marsy's parties have waived any claim to privacy and privilege."
Robicheaux is charged in connection with seven alleged victims, and Riley is charged with five.