A Baltimore attorney is being accused of offering a rape victim $3,000 not to testify, saying she could be deported if she did. One of the conversations when the offer was made was allegedly recorded by the victim’s husband.
According to officials from the Maryland Attorney General’s office, Christos Vasiliades, a Baltimore defense attorney, is being charged for allegedly offering a rape victim $3,000 not to testify against his client. He also told her she might be deported if she decided to testify, citing the Trump administration stance on illegal immigrants in hopes to discourage her.
Vasiliades has been arrested in the Baltimore courthouse on Tuesday following the allegation. His attorneys have not yet commented on the matter.
According to the indictment, the conversation happened between Vasiliades, Edgar Rodriguez, his interpreter, and the husband of the victim.
When Rodriguez’s attorney was questioned about the indictment, he said: “It’s too early to reach any conclusion about Mr. Rodriguez’s alleged involvement.”
The indictment said the encounter happened on April 11, when Vasiliades and his interpreter asked the victim’s husband for a meeting in order to discuss the lawsuit, which they said had “become more complicated.”
They allegedly told him that officers from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will “likely be present in the courtroom” and then “cited new federal laws and policies and maintained that there is a high risk” for deportation if they showed up.
Vasiliades then allegedly said that his client was “very sorry and could offer compensation” on the condition that the victim agrees not to testify. His client has been charged with assault, third and fourth degree sexual assault, second-degree rape.
There was another meeting on May 18th to further discuss Vasiliades’ offer. However, at this point the husband was wearing a recording device, as part of an investigation by the Attorney General’s office of Vasiliades. In the recorded meeting, Vasiliades was alleged to say that his client was willing to pay $3,000 on the condition that the victim doesn’t show up in court- which would then force the prosecutors to throw the case out.
According to the indictment, Vasiliades and Rodriguez then cited “recent immigration arrest statistics,” and said ICE was “looking at this case.”
“You know how things are with Trump’s laws now,” the indictment is accusing Rodriguez of saying. “Someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away.”