NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Federal prosecutors and attorneys for a diplomat whose arrest triggered an outcry in India have found themselves at odds over a possible plea deal.
A letter filed Tuesday by attorneys for Devyani Khobragade accused federal prosecutors in Manhattan of trying to pressure her into pleading guilty by next week. They renewed a request for an extension of the Jan. 13 deadline for an indictment “to eliminate pressure on the situation and permit efforts which are ongoing resolve this matter.”
The letter came in response to a filing on Monday by prosecutors saying they had “participated in hours of discussions in the hope of negotiating a plea that could be entered in court before Jan. 13.” It said there had been no response to the government’s latest offer.
Prosecutors’ filing violated an agreement not to discuss the negotiations publicly, the defense letter said. “We can only think that the violation was a distressingly calculated one,” it said.
There was no immediate response from the court.
Khobragade, 39, India’s deputy consul general in New York, has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. Khobragade allegedly lied on a visa application for her nanny. Feds said she promised to pay the woman $4,500 a month but was actually paying her the equivalent of $3.31 an hour.
Her arrest last month sparked outrage in India after revelations that she was strip-searched and thrown in a cell with other criminal defendants before being released on $250,000 bail.
In a recent email Khobragade criticized the manner in which her arrest was executed.
“I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping, and cavity searches — swabbing — in a holdup with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity,” Khobragade said last month.
But U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was quick to defend the actions taken in Khboaragade’s arrest.
“She was not, as has been incorrectly reported, arrested in front of her children. The agents arrested her in the most discreet way possible, and unlike most defendants, she was not then handcuffed or restrained. In fact, the arresting officers did not even seize her phone as they normally would have. Instead, they offered her the opportunity to make numerous calls to arrange personal matters and contact whomever she needed, including allowing her to arrange for child care. This lasted approximately two hours. Because it was cold outside, the agents let her make those calls from their car and even brought her coffee and offered to get her food,” Bharara said.
Khobragade is based on the Upper East Side and has focused on women’s issues.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
- Seen At 11: ‘Drunkorexia’ Deadly New Trend On College Campuses, Experts Warn
- Tuckahoe Parents Protest Over Chemical Concerns At Planned Marriott Site
- Boy, 6, Struck By Hit-And-Run Driver In Borough Park, Brooklyn
- At Least 159 Dead, 368 Injured In Earthquake In Italy
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)