Update, 1 p.m. Monday
Criminal District Judge Laurie White reduced bond for a prominent New Orleans breast surgeon from $2 million to $200,000 on Monday, as prosecutors hinted at further charges coming against Dr. Alireza “Ali” Sadeghi.
Sadeghi, 40, appeared for arraignment and pleaded not guilty to counts of forcible rape and video voyeurism from an indictment handed up Thursday. He arrived to court in street clothes but was quickly ordered to be booked and reappeared shackled and donning and orange Orleans Parish jail jumpsuit.
Prosecutors with Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office highlighted the fruits of a search of Sadeghi’s home that turned up a cell phone containing what they said were naked photos of both Sadeghi’s patients and children, some of them posing with animals.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Glass said an ongoing investigation, including Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, is looking into “numerous devices and numerous images” seized from Sadeghi.
Mark Cunningham, an attorney for Sadeghi, said the seizure took place last July, and he noted that Sadeghi has not yet been charged with any crimes related to the nude photos.
White ordered a stay-away order barring Sadeghi from contact with the alleged victim, but declined to issue the same order for his children, who prosecutors said were some of the subjects of the photos found on his phone.
Prosecutor Jason Napoli repeatedly described the children’s photos in seeking to maintain the high bond for Sadeghi. He later said that the photos “demonstrated that, a little bit, there was some type of harm going on to these children.”
A prominent local breast surgeon was being booked Monday morning on rape and video voyeurism counts while his attorneys prepared to argue for a reduction in the $2 million bond that a judge set last week after a state grand jury indicted him.
Dr. Alireza "Ali" Sadeghi appeared in Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Laurie White's courtroom to turn himself in, face arraignment and seek a lower bond. But before the judge took the bench, Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli called on police to arrest and book Sadeghi into Orleans Parish jail.
White expressed frustration with the move, but Sadegui was already gone. He is expected to return after booking to enter not guilty pleas on allegations he committed rape and surreptitiously videotaped a woman as they had sex.
The allegations against Sadeghi, outlined in the criminal indictment and a civil lawsuit filed previously by his purported victim, do not involve alleged acts against a patient, court records indicate.
The New Orleans Advocate does not identify the victims of sex crime allegations. In a previous statement from his attorneys, Sadeghi said she was someone with whom he was involved in an unresolved legal dispute.
An attorney representing Sadeghi’s accuser said Friday that neither she nor her client would discuss either case, civil or criminal.
Court records show the woman filed the lawsuit against Sadeghi in December 2014, alleging that he had sexually abused her. Then, about seven months later, she told police that Sadeghi had sexually assaulted her “repeatedly” during the previous 10 years.
A police search warrant mentions an incident in 2014 in which the victim said she was having consensual sex with Sadeghi and noticed that he was secretly filming them. She said she wanted to stop the sex, but he refused.
In her discussion with police, the warrant shows, the woman also claimed that she had found nude pictures of herself either changing clothes or going to and coming from the shower, taken by Sadeghi without her knowledge. Police said the woman provided them a pair of copied hard drives that contained nude photos of her.
Police said they also found nude photos of juveniles on the same hard drives.
Prosecutors said Monday morning in court that authorities found "numerous images of child pornography" on Sadeghi's phone, though the surgeon has not been charged with any crimes related to those images. Assistant District Attorney Mary Glass called it an ongoing investigation, suggesting a wider probe in the works.
An attorney for Sadeghi, however, said there is nothing new to those allegations, and that authorities seized various items from him last July, including the phone that allegedly held the pornographic images.
It is uncertain when Sadegui will return Monday for his first court appearance.
A forcible rape conviction can carry up to 40 years in prison, while a convicted video voyeur can be required to register as a sex offender.