Orange County woman pleads not guilty to poisoning husband’s drinks

Orange County woman pleads not guilty to poisoning husband's drinks

An Irvine woman accused of intentionally putting Drano in her husband’s drinks last year pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony poisoning and domestic battery charges.

Dr. Yue “Emily” Yu, who works as a dermatologist in Mission Viejo, is accused in an Orange County Grand Jury indictment of poisoning her husband’s tea while the couple was in a contentious divorce and child custody battle.

Through one of her attorneys, Yu denied the charges during a brief arraignment hearing Thursday at the Orange County Superior Courthouse in Santa Ana.

Prosecutors allege that Yu’s husband noticed a strange taste in his tea beginning in April 2022 and, suspecting his wife was putting something in the drinks, installed a pair of video cameras in their kitchen.

The cameras on three occasions captured Yu taking a bottle of liquid drain cleaner from underneath a sink and pouring it into her husband’s drinks, according to prosecutors. The husband collected samples from the drinks, prosecutors said, which law enforcement testing indicated contained a substance consistent with the  drain cleaner.

In previously filed court documents related to a request for a restraining order, the husband wrote that a doctor diagnosed him with stomach ulcers, gastritis and esophagitis.

Scott Simmons, one of the attorneys representing Yu, accused the husband of “setting up” his wife in order to gain the upper hand in family court. Simmons said the husband told Yu to put Drano into the cup to kill ants.

“He then sets her up after he knows she is going to do that,” Simmons said. “He sets up what he calls spy cameras to capture her pouring the Drano into the tea. The backdrop of all these facts, obviously, is the high-stakes divorce litigation that is going on.”

Yu was arrested in August and indicted last month but is free on bond. An agreement between Yu and the California Department of Justice, which is representing the state medical board, allows her to practice medicine pending trial.

Yu is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on July 27. If convicted of all the charges in the indictment, she could face up to eight years in prison.

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