A jury trial was postponed on Monday after a former Provo restaurant owner accused of pretending to be a doctor and sexually abusing women reportedly threatened his own attorney.
More than a year has passed since Borzin Mottaghian, 35, was charged in 2017 with 14 first-degree felonies of object rape and attempted object rape, two second-degree felonies of forcible sexual abuse and one third-degree felony of attempted forcible sexual abuse.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges in February 2018, and the four-day trial was set for July 2018.
The dates have since been rescheduled four times, including this week when a 4th District Court judge declared a mistrial in front of a group of potential jurors.
Mottaghian reportedly threatened to assault his defense attorney during a recent phone call at the jail, where he is being held for violating a protective order, said prosecutor Carl Hollan.
Judge Robert Lunnen in American Fork stated he will grant any motion to withdraw filed by the defense counsel, according to court minutes.
The next status hearing is set for July 9.
Mottaghian was arrested in October 2017 for posing as a medical examiner to conduct “anatomy research.” Police reported he does not have any medical certification.
He posted Craigslist ads offering to pay $200 to women for their help in developing “a new ‘medical device,’” charging documents state.
A woman met with Mottaghian at an office in Provo in early October. Mottaghian told the woman he was a doctor developing a “surgical catheter” for medical purposes, according to court documents.
After having her sign a nondisclosure form, he had her undress and sexually abused her under the pretense of an “examination,” reports state.
A second woman responded to the same ad a day later. Mottaghian again told the woman he was a doctor developing a new feminine hygiene product, charging documents state. He had the woman sign a nondisclosure form and undress before sexually assaulting her.
Court documents state both women, who do not know each other, had concerns they had been deceived and separately reported to police what happened.
“The manner in which Mottaghian manipulated the victims into believing he was doctor and conducting ‘medical’ examinations for the purpose of repeatedly raping them is unbelievably deviant and disturbing,” the probable cause statement says.
A female undercover officer set up an appointment with Mottaghian later in the month. During the appointment, Mottaghian told the detective he was a doctor conducting medical research and what the examination would include.
No examination took place as deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office then entered with a search warrant and arrested Mottaghian, court documents state.
Mottaghian was known in Provo for owning two downtown restaurants: Cafe on Fire and Cocoa & Coffee Co., both of which are currently closed and not operating.