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updated 12/11/2010 7:21:23 PM ET 2010-12-12T00:21:23

A son of an Oscar-winning rape suspect was ordered held without bail Saturday during his first court appearance after being accused of choking his swimsuit designer girlfriend at a swanky New York City hotel.

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Nicholas Brooks, 24, was charged with attempted murder and strangulation in the investigation surrounding Sylvie Cachay's death.

Brooks' attorney, Jeffrey C. Hoffman, said Saturday before his court appearance that Cachay was "absolutely fine" when last seen by her boyfriend.

"There's no question in my mind that he's not guilty of any criminal charges in this case," Hoffman said.

Image: Designer Sylvie Cachay
Frazer Harrison  /  Getty Images for IMG
Designer Sylvie Cachay

Cachay, 33, was discovered, half-clothed and face-up, in a tub at the Soho House hotel around 3 a.m. Thursday, after water began leaking through to the floor below. She had red marks around her neck and a bite mark on her hand, investigators said.

Brooks is the son of Joseph Brooks, 72, who won an Academy Award for best original song for the 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life." The elder Brooks also wrote and directed the movie "You Light Up My Life" about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.

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Joseph Brooks has pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges after being accused of sexually assaulting 11 women who came to his Manhattan apartment to audition for supposed movie roles.

Homicide ruling
Police say Cachay's death has been ruled a homicide, and the medical examiner's office is awaiting toxicology test results to determine what caused Cachay's death. The results aren't expected until next week.

According to court papers, an autopsy performed Thursday showed that Cachay's injuries "were not self-inflicted or accidentally caused."

Before Cachay's body was found, Brooks was seen leaving the hotel, then returning and leaving again. According to police, he told investigators he ran into a friend in the lobby, and the two left to get drinks. He returned around 3:30 a.m. to find police at the hotel.

Besides a hotel employee who delivered ice to Cachay's room, no one else was seen entering between 12:30 a.m. and 2:49 a.m., when her body was discovered, court papers said. Brooks left the hotel about 2:15 a.m., saying he was heading to a bar.

A bottle of prescription pills was discovered in the room, but no illegal drugs were found.

Brooks cooperates with police
Brooks was at a police station for more than a day and cooperated with investigators, police said. Hoffman said Brooks was at the police precinct "without sleep for many, many hours and questioned for a long period of time."

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Cachay lived in an apartment in Manhattan's West Village and had a membership at the Soho House, an elite club and hotel that has hosted such stars as Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts.

Earlier in the week, a candle sparked a small bedroom fire at Cachay's apartment, and that may have led her to stay at the Soho House, police said.

Cachay and Brooks had been dating for about six months, according to her mother, Sylvia Cachay of McLean, Va. But she said her daughter had told her two weeks ago that the relationship was over.

The daughter, who grew up in both the U.S. and Peru, worked for Victoria's Secret before leaving in 2006 to start a swimsuit collection. She had recently been working at fashion houses again after the economy soured and she lost her backing.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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