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Charges dropped in drugging of ice dancer

June 10, 2008|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

Saying they have insufficient evidence, Orange County prosecutors Monday dropped the felony charge against a man accused of drugging an Olympic ice dancer during an April meeting in an attempt to sexually assault her -- a meeting he describes as a romantic liaison.

James R. Halstead, a Santa Ana insurance salesman, was in a Laguna Niguel courtroom for his scheduled arraignment when Susan Kang Schroeder, public affairs counsel for the Orange County district attorney, announced, "We do not believe we could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Halstead, 61, faced one felony count of unlawfully administering a "narcotic, anesthetic and intoxicating agent" to Olympic ice dancer Oksana "Pasha" Grishuk with the intent to commit sexual assault. He could have faced three years in prison.

Grishuk, 36, discovered a pill in her glass of red wine during an April 12 dinner meeting with Halstead at the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point.

In an interview Monday, Halstead said he and Grishuk had a romantic relationship for more than three years.

Grishuk denied that the two were romantically involved.

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susannah.rosenblatt@latimes.com

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