A Baltimore, Maryland, attorney is accused of offering a rape victim $3,000 and telling her she faces deportation under the Trump administration’s immigration policies if she testified against his client.
Christos Vasiliades, 38, is facing obstruction of justice and witness intimidation charges after he and Edgar Rodriguez, an interpreter, were supposedly caught on tape intimidating the victim. According to The Baltimore Sun, Vasiliades and Rodriguez were recorded asking the woman’s husband whether he was aware of the current climate surrounding immigrants in the US before offering $3,000 to not come to court. By failing to appear in court, prosecutors would be forced to drop the case against Vasiliades’ client, an indictment detailed.
“You know how things are with Trump’s laws now: Someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away,” Rodriguez told victim’s husband during a May 18 hearing, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.
NBC News reported that Vasiliades, who was representing Mario Aguilar-Delossantos, allegedly called the couple to a restaurant and told them that immigration officers would be present in court. The next day, they met again—with the husband wearing a wire. During the conversation, the lawyer indicated that Rodriguez would be standing outside the courthouse on the trial date with $3,000 if the victim didn’t testify.
“My guy’s [Aguilar-Delossantos] going to be like, ‘I’m here, but she is too!'” the attorney supposedly said. “They’re going to ask, ‘You have your documents?’ Then everybody’s f**ked.”
At one point, Vasiliades is said to have suggested the couple beat up his client instead of handling it through court.
“I think you should find him and kick his ass, personally.”
“This is terrible. This is as bad as it gets. You’ve got an officer of the court, who is supposed to uphold the law, really attempting to induce a witness not to testify,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said.
The attorney was arrested in the courthouse hallway on Tuesday, right as Aguilar-Delosantos’ trial was set to begin. Rodriguez, who was released, is also facing charges for his supposed role.
Indictment of defense lawyer in Baltimore: "you know how things are with Trump's laws now"..accused of intimidating victim in rape pic.twitter.com/IpXxKCYIx2
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) May 24, 2017
WJZ-TV reported that Vasiliades is out of jail and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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