A Baltimore defense attorney is facing charges of his own after allegedly trying to convince a rape victim not to testify against his client and saying she could face deportation for doing so, according to city and state officials.
Christos Vasiliades is accused of offering a rape victim $3000. His alleged accomplice cited the Trump administration’s stance on undocumented immigrants in an attempt to discourage her from showing up to court, according to an indictment by the Maryland Attorney General’s office.
The Baltimore City Sheriff’s office confirmed that Vasiliades was arrested at a Baltimore courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Vasiliades’ attorneys did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
The indictment details conversations between the victim’s husband, Vasiliades and a man he introduced as his interpreter, Edgar Ivan Rodriguez.
When asked for comment, Rodriguez’s attorney Joe Murtha said, “It’s too early to reach any conclusion about Mr. Rodriguez’s alleged involvement.”
On April 11, Vasiliades and Rodriguez asked the husband to meet them to discuss the case, saying it had become “more complicated,” the indictment said.
They told him that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement would “likely be present in the courtroom,” and “cited new federal laws and policies and maintained that there is a high risk” the victim could be deported if they came to court, the indictment said.
Vasiliades allegedly said his client — who’s been charged with second-degree rape, sex offenses in the third and fourth degrees and assault — was “very sorry and could offer compensation” if the victim would agree not to testify.
At a later meeting on May 18, the victim’s husband met with Vasiliades and Rodriguez at an office building in Baltimore to discuss the offer further.
According to the complaint, Vasiliades had everyone leave their cellphones in the building’s lobby.
What Vasiliades and Rodriguez didn’t know was that the husband was cooperating in an investigation led by the Attorney General’s office — and was wearing a recording device.
In that second, recorded meeting, Vasiliades allegedly said the defendant was willing to pay $3,000 if the victim didn’t come to court, forcing prosecutors to have the case “thrown out.”
Vasiliades and Rodriguez cited “recent immigration arrest statistics,” the indictment said, and told the husband that ICE was “looking at this case.” They argued that if ICE took the defendant into custody, the victim could also face consequences.
“You know how things are with Trump’s laws now,” Rodriguez is accused of saying. “Someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away.”
Vasiliades also suggested the husband take justice into his own hands, according to the indictment.
“If we were back home where I’m from, from Greece,” Vasiliades said, “we would go f*** him up, that’s it, if you want to do that, that’s fine.”
Vasiliades and Rodriguez each accumulated a dozen obstruction of justice and witness intimidation charges for allegedly conspiring to intimidate a victim and witness. They could face over 200 years in prison.
Both defendants had initial court appearances Wednesday, according to the state Attorney General’s office. They were released under pretrial supervision.