A Baltimore defense attorney has been arrested for allegedly offering to pay a victim to not testify in a rape case and threatening her with deportation if she did.
Christos Vasiliades, a solo practitioner, was indicted Tuesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court and charged with obstruction of justice, witness intimidation and related offenses.
Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, who Vasiliades identified as his interpreter, was also charged in relation to the incident. Both were released under pretrial supervision Wednesday. A trial has been scheduled for September, according to online court records.
Vasiliades was represented by Billy Murphy of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore and Rodriguez was represented by Joseph Murtha of Murtha, Psoras & Lanasa LLC in Lutherville, where Vasiliades worked prior to starting his own firm in 2015.
The indictment, filed by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, alleges Vasiliades and Rodriguez approached the husband of a witness slated to testify against Vasiliades’ client and warned him that his wife risked deportation by testifying, citing the current climate of aggressive enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Vasiliades also allegedly informed the man his client would be willing to compensate the victim if she did not testify.
The victim’s husband called Vasiliades in mid-May at the direction of law enforcement – who recorded the call – and set up a meeting which took place a few days later, according to court records. During the meeting, which was also recorded, Vasiliades claimed ICE was looking at the case and if officers attended the trial to potentially detain his client, the victim and her husband could be implicated.
Vasiliades also allegedly offered the victim’s husband $3,000 in exchange for not testifying which would cause the case to be “thrown out.” He also allegedly encouraged the couple to physically assault his client instead of participating in the criminal trial.
News of the indictment was first reported by The Baltimore Sun.