BENTONVILLE -- Prosecutors can proceed with the rape case against a Rogers doctor after Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren found a memory card seized by police didn't contain attorney client work product.
Rikhav S. Vasanwala, 34, is charged with rape and video voyeurism. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Vasanwala was arrested in February 2022.
Rick Yeager, a then-Rogers police detective, seized the card after Vasanwala was arrested and brought to the Police Department. Vasanwala told Yeager the card contained evidence he planned to give to his attorneys.
Drew Miller and John Baureis, who represent Vasanwala, filed a motion seeking to dismiss the charges.
Baureis told the judge Vasanwala gathered the information in connection with prior matters and the rape case. Baureis said he planned to give the card to his attorneys.
Baureis said the card was wrongly seized since it's confidential information between a client and his attorneys. He said the information was gathered to support his client's defense.
"The law is pretty clear," Baureis said. "That's work product."
Brooke Bonnett, deputy prosecutor, said the card contains videos of a sexual nature and text messages. She said it also contained information unrelated to the investigation.
Bonnett said there was no client privilege information on the hard drive. She added the card was searched with a valid warrant.
Baureis asked for the case to be dismissed, or that the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Yeager and the alleged victim be recused from testifying against Vasanwala.
Karren found the search was valid and evidence of rape and video voyeurism.
The issue is whether the card was work product, but Karren said he didn't have the card or emails between Vasanwala and his attorneys asking for the information to be gathered for his attorney.
He found Yeager discussed the attorney client issue with Rogers District Judge Chris Griffin who signed the affidavit for the search warrant.
Karren said Yeager acted in good faith and had sufficient probable cause to search the hard drive.
Rogers police started investigating after a woman reported she had a video of her being raped, according to a probable cause affidavit. The woman told police she obtained a video on Vasanwala's cellphone of him performing multiple sex acts on her, according to the affidavit.
She told police she was unconscious due to the prescription medication Vasanwala had given her, according to the affidavit.
The woman said she found multiple videos on Vasanwala's phone of him performing sex acts on other women, according to the affidavit. She said she sent the video of Vasanwala raping her to her phone and deleted the other videos from his phone, the affidavit states.
Vasanwala's jury trial is scheduled to begin April 16. He's currently free on a $350,000 bond.