A Lawyer Allegedly Hinted At Deportation To Stop A Rape Victim From Testifying
A Baltimore lawyer was arrested after he allegedly threatened a rape victim with deportation under "Trump's laws," according to The Baltimore Sun. Christos Vasiliades, who represented the victim's purported attacker, and his associate Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, reportedly warned the rape victim's husband of the "current environment for immigrants in this country," alluding to President Donald Trump's harsh treatment of non-native residents. Bustle has reached out to Vasiliades' office for comment.
The men allegedly conveyed the threat to the rape victim's husband. "You know how things are with Trump's laws now. Someone goes to court and, boom, they get taken away," Rodriguez told the victim's husband in a recorded conversation, according to an indictment by the state Attorney General's Office. "They're going to ask, 'You have your documents?'" Both Vasiliades and Rodriguez were charged with obstruction of justice and witness intimidation. According to NBC News, Vasiliades "could not be reached for immediate comment" on the allegations in the indictment.
The lawyers also reportedly offered the victim's husband $3,000 for the victim not to testify. Vasiliades said his client, Mario Aguilar-Delosantos, was "very sorry and could offer compensation if they did not come to court and testify against him." Aguilar-Delosantos faces second-degree rape, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses, and second-degree assault charges. Aguilar-Delosantos has not publicly commented on the case, and his trial date has been pushed back to August, according to the Sun.
"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 was recorded saying, according to the indictment. "He's an (expletive), I think you should find him and kick his (expletive), personally." He reportedly added :"I did my job, I did very good, and I can go home and go to sleep, OK, and then you get something, and then you find him outside, brother, and you (expletive) him up, that's it," Vasiliades was apparently recorded saying.
The incident comes at a time of heightened concern among immigrants in America. Some of Trump's campaign promises, such as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and barring the entrance of travelers coming from Muslim-majority nations, have been stalled as the judicial system reviews his executive orders.
Nonetheless, the administration's effort at making good on their campaign promises have sparked fear and anxiety among immigrant communities. And the fact that some are seemingly willing to use Trump's rhetoric to stoke shows how pernicious intolerance can be.
Recently released data shows that this anxiety is not unjustified. In the first three months of the Trump administration, immigration arrests spiked 38 percent compared to the same period last year. The data, released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month, showed that from Jan. 22 to April 29, ICE officers arrested 41,318 people — which, spread out, amounts to more than 400 people a day. This is compared to a total of 30,028 arrests over about the same timeframe in 2016. “These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” said Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE, according to a New York Times report.
One of Trump's first moves as president was to crack down harshly on undocumented immigrants, even those who have committed no crimes. The overzealous policy has torn families apart and even reportedly prevented women from reporting domestic abuse out of fear of deportation — or, as in this reported case in Baltimore, discourage sexual assault victims from seeking justice.