If you read between the lines of disgraced Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s court filing today, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and his legal team are a bunch of idiots who don’t know the law and are therefore engaging in obfuscations and making irrelevant arguments.
Devyani’s filing to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York was made today in further support of her previous plea to dismiss the prosecution’s indictment against her on January 9, 2014 before she left the U.S.
Devyani Khobragade was attached to the NYC Indian Consulate as Deputy Consul General until her arrest on charges of visa fraud and making false statements. She was subsequently granted diplomatic immunity following her accreditation to the U.N. and then expelled from the U.S.
The essence of Devyani’s argument in her court filing today is that when the indictment was issued against her on the morning of January 9, 2014 she was already cloaked in full immunity since the U.S. State Department had provided her diplomatic status the previous day (January 8, 2014) at 5:47PM as Counselor to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.
If, as she claims, Devyani was a diplomat with immunity on January 9, the U.S. did not have criminal jurisdiction over her and hence the indictment is invalid.
Devyani’s attorney Daniel Arshack cites case law and U.S. State Department rules to make a strong argument.
At the time that the indictment was obtained and filed in the early afternoon hours of January 9, 2014, Dr. Khobragade was present in the United States and continued to be cloaked in such immunity. 22 U.S.C. §254(d) and the cases cited above mandate that any proceeding or action brought against a diplomat while cloaked in immunity must be dismissed. – p.8
When a diplomat is cloaked with immunity at the commencement of an action, that action must be dismissed even if the diplomat is later terminated from the diplomatic post. – p.9
Devyani’s attorney argued that the prosecution could bring a new case against her but could not proceed with the current indictment, which he termed an “invalid instrument” since it was filed when she was “still imbued with diplomatic diplomatic immunity.”
The question before the court now is at what point Devyani’s immunity was revoked and converted to “former” diplomat status.
According to Arshack, Devyani was a diplomat with immunity until she left the U.S. at 8:30PM on January 9, 2014.
Dr. Khobragade did not become a “former” diplomat until that evening at approximately 8:30pm when her airplane departed American airspace. p.6
Devyani’s attorney Arshack dismisses prosecutor Bharara and his team’s previous objections toward dismissing her indictment in strong terms.
Devyani’s filing today charges the prosecution’s efforts to distinguish between immunity conferred upon consular officials versus diplomats (under the respective Vienna Conventions) as a means to deny relief to her as “inapposite distinctions” that “are a clear effort to obfuscate, are irrelevant and do not assist the Court in resolving this matter” (p.1)
The Indian diplomat’s court motion repeated her old argument that she should never have been arrested on December 12, 2013 since she was accredited as an Advisor to the U.N. from August 26, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
Based on the latest filing by Devyani’s attorney, it does appear that she has made a strong case to get the indictment against her dismissed.