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Restaurateur poisoned girlfriend to cause miscarriage, D.A. says

October 17, 2012 |  3:01 pm

Prosecutors have charged a prominent restaurateur with multiple counts of attempted murder, claiming he attempted to cause his pregnant girlfriend to miscarry by poisoning her with a white powdery substance.

Joshua Woodward, 40, an investor in Los Angeles and Miami restaurants including the old Table 8, was charged Tuesday with four counts of attempted murder. He turned himself in on Wednesday morning, officials familiar with the case said.

Woodward pleaded not guilty.

DOCUMENT: Allegations against Joshua Woodward

The charges come nearly three years after Woodward was first arrested in the case. But in October 2009, LAPD investigators chose not to formally present a case to prosecutors within 48 hours and Woodward was released from custody.

Officials said the charges come after new evidence emerged, which they would not disclose.

Woodward's attorney, Mark Werksman, said that now, as back then, police didn't have a case against his client and the charges were an attempt to turn "an unfortunate natural miscarriage of a 13-week-old fetus into a ghoulish attempted murder case."

"Nothing has changed in the last three years except the prosecution's determination to blame Joshua Woodward for the miscarriage suffered by his girlfriend," Werksman said. "Joshua had nothing to do with the loss of his girlfriend's baby. And the evidence marshaled against him is so weak and speculative as to be nonexistent."

The mystery of the white powdery substance began in October 2009, when LAPD officers got a call from the girlfriend.

The woman told detectives she had become suspicious after Woodward allegedly rubbed a white powder on her. Soon after coming in contact with the powder, she had a miscarriage.

A week later, police arrived at her Los Angeles apartment, where they allegedly found Woodward grinding a white substance in his hands.

LAPD officials said lab tests have confirmed that the substance they found in Woodward's hands was misoprostol, which is used to induce labor as well as in early-term abortions.

--Andrew Blankstein