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Man accused of rape can present 'Zoloft defense,' judge rules

May 17, 2012 |  6:56 pm

  Anthony Nicholas Orban, a former Westminster police detective
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

A former Westminster police detective accused of kidnapping a woman at gunpoint and raping her in 2010 will be allowed to present a defense that he was mentally “unconscious” during the attack because he was under the influence of the antidepressant Zoloft.

A San Bernardino County judge ruled Thursday that Anthony Nicholas Orban can present evidence that he was so overwhelmed by the prescription drug that he was not responsible for the attack, according to Orban’s lawyer, James Blatt.

The detective is accused of abducting a then-25-year-old waitress on a Saturday evening as she walked to her car after leaving work at Ontario Mills mall. Orban is accused of making her drive to a storage facility in Fontana, then attacking her.

San Bernardino County Deputy Dist. Atty. Debbie Ploghaus on Thursday rested her case against Orban, who faces life in prison if convicted of the rape and kidnapping charges.

Orban's attorney is scheduled to begin presenting his defense on Monday.

[For the Record, 7:50 p.m. May 17: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said a San Bernardino County judge ruled Friday in the Anthony Nicholas Orban case. The judge made the ruling Thursday.]



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Photo: Defense attorney James Blatt, left, and Anthony Nicholas Orban, a former Westminster police detective, listen to testimony Monday in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times