Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory Jones decided Thursday to refer the case of the former reality television star Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend Cerissa Riley to the A.G.'s office.
"It would be impossible for the District Attorney's Office to prosecute this case in an ethical fashion when they have referred to it as a manufactured case," Jones said.
The attorney representing four of the couple's alleged victims, Matt Murphy, said they're relieved.
"My clients feel incredibly grateful for the ruling," Murphy said.
The accused couple, who once led a swinger lifestyle, told Eyewitness News in a sit-down interview in February that the sexual encounters were consensual.
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The two said they've lived in hiding since 2018, when then Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced to reporters that investigators were sifting through thousands of videos and photos on Robicheaux's cell phone -- some showing women barely responsive.
"It's just unbelievable that he could just lie like that," Riley said, adding, "How could you lie?"
"Within about an hour my whole life was ripped away from me," Robicheaux said, adding, "I was fired from every hospital. I was suspended from my career, my practice."
Current OCDA Todd Spitzer accused his predecessor of using the case for publicity as he ran for re-election. Rackauckas denied the allegations.
Spitzer tried to dismiss charges against the accused couple, saying his office lacked sufficient evidence. The judge refused in June.
In a statement, Spitzer said in part:
"I am confident that the state Attorney General's Office will resolve this case in a fair and just manner. I referred this case to the Attorney General's office in September 2019 because of my concerns of the possible perception that this case had been tainted by politics even before it was filed."
Murphy said his clients have gone through enough.
"The victims in this case have rights," Murphy said, adding, "Nobody should be treated the way the women in this case have been treated. Today was a huge step in the right direction."
Eyewitness News reached out to the A.G.'s Office via e-mail for any indication on whether they'll agree to prosecute this case. They only said they'll review the matter.