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Crime & Courts

Former upscale restaurant owner charged with trying to induce miscarriage

The former owner of upscale restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami has been charged with attempted murder, with prosecutors saying he tried to get his girlfriend to miscarry using a drug that can induce early labor.

Joshua Woodward, 40, whose restaurant holdings included the now-closed Table 8 in Los Angeles and another outlet of the same restaurant in Florida where he now lives, was being held on $4 million bail and was expected to be back in a Los Angeles Superior Court court for a bail hearing Thursday afternoon.

'Nothing has changed in the last three years except the prosecution's determination to blame Joshua Woodward for the miscarriage suffered by his girlfriend.'

- Mark Werksman told the Los Angeles Times

On Wednesday he pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors allege Woodward tried to kill "Baby Doe" four times in September and October 2009 using misoprostol, a drug that can terminate early-stage pregnancies.

The woman went on to miscarry at 13 weeks. It's not clear why the charges were only attempted murder or whether investigators think the drug led to the miscarriage, and messages left with prosecutors were not immediately returned.

The woman, whose name has not been released, grew suspicious and called police, saying Woodward had rubbed a white powder on her before the miscarriage.

Woodward was suspected and soon arrested, but police released him with no charges.
The investigation continued, however, but it was unclear what led to charges finally being filed Tuesday. Woodward turned himself in Wednesday.

Woodward's attorney, Mark Werksman, said authorities didn't have a case against his client in 2009 and don't now, saying the evidence against his client is "weak and speculative" and the charges were an attempt to make an unfortunate natural occurrence 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 told the Los Angeles Times.

Woodward could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted

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