Charges Dropped in Alleged Drugging of Olympic Ice Dancer

Prosecutors dropped a felony charge Monday against a man they had alleged slipped a date-rape drug in the drink of former Olympic ice dancer Oksana "Pasha" Grishuk.

An attorney for James R. Halstead, 61, said the district attorney agreed to dismiss one felony count of administering a drug last week. The charge was formally voided at what was to be an arraignment hearing Monday in Orange County Superior Court, said attorney Michael Molfetta.

Susan Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, did not immediately return a call for comment. A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which investigated the case, also did not return a call.

Grishuk's attorney, Gloria Allred, did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

Prosecutors charged Halstead last month after Grishuk, 36, reported finding dissolved pills in two drinks she consumed at the posh St. Regis Monarch hotel in Newport Beach while at a dinner meeting with Halstead.

The pills tested positive for Nimetazepam, which is similar to the date-rape drug GHB, but is usually found only in Asia and Europe and not the United States, sheriff's officials have said.

Molfetta, the defense attorney, called the case a "piece of junk" and said that two tests of Grishuk's blood came back negative for Nimetazepam. He also said that Halstead and Grishuk had had a lengthy romantic relationship and he had provided text messages, e-mails, telephone records and personal notes to the district attorney's office to prove it.

Grishuk denied a romantic relationship with Halstead during a news conference at the Sheriff's Department last month.

"They originally made a mistake in filing it and I think they corrected that mistake," Molfetta said of prosecutors. "I approached them. I said, 'This is not the way it looks, this woman is on a media tour.' It just struck me as being very, very odd and very, very suspicious."

Halstead said Grishuk wanted to marry him, but he was going through a divorce and told her no. He also said she wanted him to travel to Europe with her as her agent, but he refused.

"She got really upset with me because she said, 'Can't you find me a man with money who could take care of me?"' Halstead told The Associated Press by telephone. "She kept saying, 'Jim, I'm in love with you."'

Halstead said Grishuk initiated the April 12 meeting at the St. Regis because she accused him of missing Valentine's Day. He said he believes she slipped the pill in her own drink when he left to use the restroom for about 15 minutes.

"We seemed to be having a nice time. Next thing you know, she reaches into the glass and pulls out this pill and says, 'What is this?"' Halstead said. "I don't why she did this, whether she was mad at me or crazy. It doesn't make any sense."

Grishuk, who won gold medals for Russia in ice dancing in 1994 and 1998, told reporters last month that she has been busy recently filming several seasons of a Russian television show called "Dance on Ice" that's similar to America's "Dancing With the Stars." She said she's also done solo skating shows in Asia and toured Russia with ice shows. She lives part-time in south Orange County.