Libby Adame and her daughter Alicia Galaz appeared in court together for the first time since being charged with murder in the death of Karissa Rajpaul, whom they allegedly injected with silicone in an illegal butt-lift procedure. The Wednesday hearing was scheduled as an arraignment, but neither defendant entered a plea. In addition to murder charges, each faces three felony counts of practicing medicine without a license.
Adame’s lawyer J. Michael Flanagan told Rolling Stone her defense team first wants to review about 1,000 pages of discovery and possibly file a demurrer to the complaint. A demurrer is a way of formally objecting to the validity of the charges, and it can’t be done after entering a plea. “Once we enter a plea of not guilty, that forecloses being able to file a demurrer,” he said.
During the hearing, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Lee Cernok said she had filed a motion for a protective order on the discovery. She refused to elaborate on the reasons for the protective order after the hearing, saying only, “no comment.” The parties also agreed to new arraignment date, set for Mar. 3.
Flanagan — who helped defend Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, against involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as Britney Spears against the misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid license — described the case against Adame as “overcharged.” “They charged her with murder,” he told Rolling Stone after the hearing. “Murder requires the intent to kill. I don’t think any reasonable person would think that she intended to kill or that she intended to do anything that she actually knew would be dangerous.”
The Aug. 2021 complaint alleges that on Oct. 15, 2019, Adame and Galaz “did unlawfully, and with malice aforethought murder Karissa Rajpaul, a human being.” A Los Angeles Police Department press release announcing the arrests said the women had performed an “outlaw buttocks augmentation procedure” on Rajpaul that involved injecting her buttocks with “an uncontained, liquid silicone substance,” which experts told Rolling Stone can travel through the bloodstream like a blood clot, potentially leading to sudden death. According to Rajpaul’s autopsy report, she was unresponsive when emergency responders arrived. The police report said Adame and Galaz fled the scene without telling paramedics what happened.
Rajpaul died less than three hours after receiving the injections, from acute cardiopulmonary dysfunction caused by the silicone injections, according to the autopsy report. The manner of death was ruled a homicide. A friend of Rajpaul’s who was present during the procedure spoke to Rolling Stone late last year on the condition of anonymity. He said he could tell something was wrong with Rajpaul after the injections, and tried to get Adame and Galaz to help her. “I told them, ‘Look, you guys should take her to a hospital,’” he said. “They were like, ‘Oh, no, she’ll be fine.’ Of course, she wasn’t fine. She wasn’t responding. She just looked very, very low. When she started passing out, I gave her mouth-to-mouth. I yelled, ‘Call 911! You need to call 911 right now. This is crazy. You’re fucking insane.’”
Since Adame and Galaz’ arrests, the LAPD told Rolling Stone that nearly 100 more people had come forward claiming to have been harmed by Adame and Galaz’ procedures, some of whom spoke with Rolling Stone.
Flanagan declined to answer questions about why prosecutors allege Adame fled the scene of Rajpaul’s procedure. “I’m not prepared to discuss it. We’re in the early stages,” he said. “I don’t even know if this involves the practice of medicine — what they’re charged with violating. These procedures are basically an injection. They’re not opening somebody’s chest cavity.”
Galaz faced a judge in December, at which point she was asked to turn over her passport and to wear an ankle monitor. On Wednesday, Adame was instructed to surrender her passport by Feb. 14 and to get fitted for an ankle monitor.
Before the hearing, Adame and Galaz sat on a bench together, then stood next to one another in the courtroom. Adame wore a camel coat over a brown dress, heavy eyelashes, and her long black hair parted down the center. Galaz wore a white cable knit jumpsuit, white sweater cape, white high-heel pumps and a gray head scarf covering her hair.
Galaz left the courthouse first, ignoring questions on her way out. Adame left five minutes later. “Not guilty, 100 percent not guilty,” Adame told Rolling Stone.