People like this lawyer are the reason why undocumented immigrants are afraid to report rape and sexual assault.
A Baltimore defense attorney, Christos Vasiliades, attempted to dissuade his client’s rape victim to drop charges against him by telling her if her case went to court, she would be at risk of deportation.
Mario Aguilar-Delosantos is accused of second-degree rape relating to an alleged attack that took place in March 2016.
In a secretly recorded conversation, Vasiliades, 38, and another man charged in the case, Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, told the victim and her husband that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would probably be present in the courtroom where she testifies, according to grand jury indictment documents.
“You know how things are with Trump’s laws now; someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away,” Rodriguez said in the recording.
Vasiliades said his client was “very sorry and could offer compensation if they did not come to court and testify against him.”
He also told the victim’s husband that he could get revenge for his wife by beating up Aguilar-Delosantos, as they do in Greece, apparently.
“If we were back home where I’m from, from Greece… we would go [expletive] him up, that’s it, if you want to do that, that’s fine,” Vasiliades said, according to court documents. “He’s an (expletive), I think you should find him and kick his (expletive), personally… find him and wear him out.”
The two men also offered the couple $3,000 as incentive for dropping the case.
Before starting the meeting, Vasiliades ordered everyone to leave their phones on the desk in the lobby, but unbeknownst to him, people had secret recording devices.
Both Vasiliades and Rodriguez were charged with counts of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice and arrested.
Under President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration rule, ICE has regularly detained and deported immigrants after staking out courthouses and sanctuaries.
Earlier this year, Irvin Gonzalez, who had made multiple reports to the police that she was kicked, beaten and chased with a knife by her boyfriend, was at a family courthouse to get a protective custody order when she was arrested by ICE.
In just the first 100 days of Trump’s administration, arrests by the deportation force have gone up by 40 percent.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters