Khobragade berates Bharara for going public with plea talks

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has berated US Attorney Preet Bharara for publicly disclosing plea discussions underway to resolve the visa fraud case against her, saying it was a “distressingly calculated” move which could further polarise the situation.

Noting that the two sides had agreed not to make public the plea discussions, her lawyer Daniel Arshack gave a strong rejoinder to Bharara who had written to Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn stating that he had outlined reasonable parameters that could resolve the issue.

“We can only think that the violation of that agreement is a distressingly calculated one,” Arshack said.

With the deadline for her indictment slated for January 13, the diplomat had sought a one-month extension, saying the “pressure of the impending” date is interfering with the ability of the parties to have meaningful discussions.

But her plea has been opposed by the prosecution.

India has been demanding the withdrawal of the case against Khobragade and an apology from the US for the treatment meted out to the 39-year-old diplomat, including a strip search and detention with criminals after her arrest on December 12.
India-born US prosecutor Bharara's office was required to file charges against the diplomat within 30 days of her arrest.

The US said last month it was proceeding with the prosecution of Khobragade and had no intention of withdrawing the case.

Bharara said his office has been receptive to continuing the plea discussions that have been taking place with the diplomat over the past several weeks.

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