Prosecutors say Joshua Woodward, whose restaurant holdings included the now-closed 8 Oz. Burger Bar on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, repeatedly tried to force a drug-induced miscarriage on his then-girlfriend in 2009.
Woodward, who also owns restaurants in Miami and Chicago, was arrested and released at the time after his girlfriend contacted police, but no charges were filed. The investigation continued, leading prosecutors to file charges on Tuesday.
"She had reasons, ulterior motives, to make up a story," said defense attorney Mitchell W. Egers. "I can't go into all the facts now. We know the facts, the prosecution does not."
The 40-year-old surrendered and pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder on Wednesday. He appeared in court Thursday and his bail was set at $4 million bail. He posted bail late Thursday night with the help of family members and was expected to leave the Twin Towers jail sometime thereafter.
Prosecutors allege Woodward had begged the woman to terminate her pregnancy, saying it would "ruin his life," but she refused. He appeared to accept the pregnancy as she entered her second trimester, but forensic analysis of Woodward's computer showed he researched drugs and other ways to cause a miscarriage, prosecutors said.
According to the district attorney's office, Woodward tried to kill "Baby Doe" four times in September and October 2009 using misoprostol, a drug that can terminate early-stage pregnancies. The woman went on to miscarry at 13 weeks, but she did not tell Woodward.
When police searched his computer, they allegedly found Internet searches with the phrases "drugs that induce miscarriages" and "evil ways to terminate a pregnancy."
On Oct 25, 2009, Woodward went to his girlfriend's apartment, where he was detained by police. Prosecutors say he tried to discard a baggie containing white powder, which was tested and found to be misoprostol.
If convicted, Woodward could face life in prison. He will be back in court in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.