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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

World

Khobragade's lawyer 'considering' other options
PTI
New York, January 09, 2014
First Published: 10:13 IST(9/1/2014)
Last Updated: 10:16 IST(9/1/2014)

The lawyer of Devyani Khobragade is not losing hope after a US court denied the Indian diplomat's request to extend the January 13 deadline for a hearing in her visa fraud case, saying he is "considering" other options.

Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier denied Khobragade's request to extend the January 13 deadline for a preliminary hearing, the date by which she has to be indicted.

"We are considering our options," Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack told PTI when asked about his request being denied by Netburn. Arshack did not elaborate further.

However, sources said one of the options Khobragade, 39, now has is to file another motion in court seeking extension of the indictment deadline and preliminary hearing and she could contemplate filing another motion.

In her three-page order issued late on Wednesday, Netburn had that an indictment or information charging the defendant with the commission of an offense must be filed within 30 days of the date of the defendant's arrest.

In a January 7 letter to the federal court, Khobragade had said the "pressure of the impending" deadline of the indictment and preliminary hearing is interfering in the meaningful discussions between her and the government to resolve the visa fraud case.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara's office is required to file an indictment in the case within 30 days of Khobragade's arrest and the deadline for the indictment is January 13. The order means the indictment against Khobragade will now have to filed before or on January 13.

Bharara had opposed Khobragade's request for extension saying that his office has been participating in plea discussions with Khobragade over the past several weeks and these discussions to resolve the issue can continue even after the indictment has been filed.

In a letter dated January 6, Khobragade, through her counsel, had said that the impending preliminary hearing date is negatively affecting the ability of counsel and the government to engage in productive plea negotiations.

In a subsequent letter, Arshack had termed the issuance of an indictment as a "polarizing event" and sought moving the preliminary hearing deadline to February 12.


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