Restaurateur Charged With Murder for Secretly Giving Girlfriend Abortion Medication

A prominent restaurateur has been charged with murder after prosecutors alleged that he secretly applied a topical ointment that caused his former girlfriend to miscarry.

Joshua Woodward, 40, an investor in Los Angeles, New York and Miami restaurants including the Table 8 chain, was charged in Los Angeles with four counts of attempted murder on Tuesday. Woodward turned himself in Wednesday morning, according to officials close to the case.

Authorities charge Woodward succeeded in having his former girlfriend miscarry. She was 13 weeks pregnant at the time, and he did it by using a topical form of the early-stage abortion drug misoprostol while the couple engaged in a sexual encounter.

Misoprostol has been used extensively in the past to induce labor and also as a drug used for early-term abortions.

The charges come three years after Woodward was first arrested in October 2009, but police officials in Los Angeles passed on formally bringing charges against Woodward, and he was released from police custody.

Mark Werksman, who is representing Woodward, is claiming that the reason his client was not charged the first time was due to lack of evidence. Werksman insisted that the unfortunate miscarriage of his former girlfriend is now being used to bring murder charges against his client.

"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.

"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," he added.

But according to a police affidavit, the unnamed former girlfriend noticed that during an intimate encounter Woodward reached is had into his back pocket several times before touching her sexually.

Several hours after their encounter on Oct. 18, 2009 the woman began to experience severe stomach cramps and soon after miscarried the fetus, the affidavit states.