Attorney for OC doctor accused of poisoning husband claims he just had acid reflux

David González Image
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Attorney for OC doctor accused of poisoning husband outlines defense
The defense team for a Mission Viejo dermatologist accused of trying to poison her husband with Drano claims the chemical was intended only for killing ants.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Mission Viejo dermatologist accused of trying to poison her husband with chemical drain cleaner made a brief appearance in court Tuesday.

Dr. Yue "Emily" Yu is facing three counts of poisoning and one count of domestic battery.

Her husband, Dr. Jack Chen, claims Yu secretly poured Drano into his lemonade on multiple occasions and he secretly recorded video of her pouring the cleaner into a cup.

While Yu's arraignment was postponed to next month, her attorney gave a preview of her expected defense at trial.

Attorney Scott Simmons claims Chen was sick from natural acid reflux, and not from Drano that Yu allegedly secretly poured into his lemonade.

RELATED: OC woman accused of poisoning spouse is prevented from seeing her kids

An Orange County Superior Court judge extended a temporary restraining order against a Mission Viejo dermatologist from seeing or phoning her children in light of allegations that she poisoned her husband with Drano.

He claims Chen asked his wife to pour Drano into a cup so they could get rid of ants in the kitchen and then presented only portions of video footage to police that did not show the whole picture.

Simmons denies all allegations that Yu tried to poison her husband.

"This entire backdrop for this entire case is propositioned on the fact that there's an ongoing divorce case and it's a high-stakes divorce case," Simmons said.

Tuesday's hearing lasted less than five minutes. Simmons asked the judge to push back her arraignment because they're still waiting on documents that were presented to the grand jury to be unsealed.

They consist of letters that were written and exhibits.

Yu's arraignment will now take place on May 18.

"Dr. Yu is anxiously awaiting her day in trial and looks forward to the jury hearing the case," Simmons said.

He said she plans to plead not guilty.

Also, he said Chen is the one who told Yu to put Drano into a cup to kill an ant problem in their kitchen.

Simmons said Chen then planted spy cameras to capture her pouring the cleaner into a cup.

"We don't have an entire run of the camera that's set up in the morning and it runs to the night," Simmons said. "What was presented to the police as far as we're being told are these are sections and it's the sections that support Dr. Chen."

In addition, he said the medical evidence is inconsistent with Chen's claim that he consumed the Drano.

"As you know Drano is a caustic substance. You would have severe injuries from consuming the Drano. And, the injuries that he claims are from the Drano we think the evidence will show that it's consistent with what's known as GERD or acid reflex," Simmons said.

During Yu's May 18 arraignment, a motion will be considered to temporarily suspend her medical license until the outcome of the criminal case is finalized.

Yu faces a maximum sentence of 8 years and 8 months in prison if convicted.

Chen has filed for divorce and is fighting for full custody of their children.