OC surgeon accused of sexual assault pleads guilty to felony gun possession charge

A Newport Beach hand surgeon who was originally accused with his girlfriend of drugging and sexually assaulting multiple women pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony gun-possession charge and a misdemeanor drug count, bringing an end to the long-running and convoluted case.

Under a plea deal, Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 43, was placed on one year of probation for the misdemeanor, which can later be dismissed if he successfully completes probation. He was sentenced to two years probation for the felony, which can be reduced to a misdemeanor after 16 months of successful probation and ultimately can be expunged from his record.

The resolution follows a hearing last month in which Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Leversen agreed to dismiss felony charges of poisoning and sale of phencyclidine against Robicheaux and girlfriend Cerissa Riley, 36.

The move left no charges remaining against Riley, while Robicheaux was left only with a felony charge of possession of an assault weapon and four misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, including GHB, more commonly known as the date rape drug.

Robicheaux's attorney said at the time that the doctor would be willing to enter a plea agreement to resolve the remaining charges in the case.

The case began five years ago in the heat of a re-election bid by then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who held a widely covered news conference to announce the charges accusing Robicheaux and Riley of targeting women in bars and other settings, drugging them and sexually assaulting them. The case quickly became a target of then-DA candidate Todd Spitzer, who criticized Rackauckas' handling of the case and questioned why Rackauckas did not move faster to file it, suggesting the incumbent was using the matter for campaign publicity.


After he was elected, Spitzer called for an internal review of the case, assigned two new prosecutors to the matter and then moved to dismiss all the charges. That drew protests from several of the alleged victims and an Orange County Superior Court judge refused to toss the case.

Spitzer's office was eventually recused from the case and the Attorney General's Office took over.

Robicheaux initially faced charges involving five alleged victims and Riley three alleged victims, but a prior Orange County Superior Court judge granted a motion from prosecutors to reduce the charges. There were initially a total of 13 accusers, some of whom prosecutors had planned to use as witnesses to show a pattern of behavior at trial.

By the time the case got to a preliminary hearing there were only two alleged victims.

After a roller-coaster ride of various court rulings, dismissals and refiling of charges, only one alleged victim remained in the case -- a woman who initially began chatting with Robicheaux in 2016 via the Bumble app and said she trusted him because he was a doctor who once appeared on a TV show on Bravo. When she eventually met him, she was surprised when Riley came along since she thought she was going on a "date," but Robicheaux introduced Riley not as his girlfriend but as a "good friend from out of town."

Prosecutors argued that the pair spiked her drink, and the next thing she remembered was waking up at Robicheaux's house and being fondled in a sexual manner by the doctor and his girlfriend.

Leversen tossed out sexual assault charges following a July preliminary hearing, which left only the poisoning and drug possession charges remaining against the pair, which the judge dismissed in October.