Diplomat Khobragade Asks to Extend Indictment Deadline

Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat arrested in New York on allegations she lied on a visa application about the wages she paid her Indian babysitter, asked a judge to postpone the deadline for her indictment.

“Significant communications have been had between the prosecution and the defense and amongst other government officials and it is our strong view that the pressure of the impending deadline is counterproductive to continued communications,” Daniel Arshack, Khobragade’s lawyer, said in a letter yesterday to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan.

Khobragade, 39, was charged Dec. 12 with visa fraud and making false statements, triggering a falling out in U.S.-Indian relations when news circulated that she was arrested in front of her daughter’s school in upper Manhattan and strip-searched while being held with other female suspects. She was released on a $250,000 unsecured bond.

The diplomat had been arrested on the basis of a criminal complaint. The judge gave prosecutors a Jan. 13 deadline to either return a grand jury indictment charging Khobragade or to present evidence to support the allegations at a preliminary hearing on that date.

Khobragade’s lawyer asked in his letter for the deadline to be extended to Feb. 12.

Representatives of the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment on the request.

The case is U.S. v. Khobragade, 13-mj-02870, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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