Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A Baltimore criminal defense attorney was arrested today for allegedly offering a Spanish-speaking woman and her spouse $3,000 not to show up to the trial for his client, her accused rapist, and intimidating them by saying they’d be deported once the trial was over.

Authorities served an arrest warrant to attorney Christos Vasiliades in Baltimore City Circuit Court this morning. According to a copy of the indictment provided by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, Vasiliades arranged two meetings with the woman and her husband to try to get them to back off the case against his client. Court records identify her accused rapist as 34-year-old Mario Aguilar-Delosantos.

The indictment says Vasiliades’ interpreter, Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, assisted in the scheme. He’s also facing felony charges.

During the first meetup on April 11, Vasiliades and Rodriguez are said to have warned the couple, both of whom primarily speak Spanish, that they might be deported if they testified as state’s witnesses in the case. They said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would likely be present in court during the trial.

In a follow-up meeting that happened last Thursday, the four of them are said to have convened at on office building in the city. Unbeknownst to the lawyer and his interpreter, investigators had equipped the woman’s husband with a recording device.

It was there that Vasiliades allegedly offered them $3,000 in cash if they kept quiet and agreed not to show up to testify at the trial. “You know how things are with Trump’s laws now; someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away,” Rodriguez was quoted as saying.

The alternative form of justice suggested by Vasiliades: “If we were back home where I’m from, from Greece… we would go fuck him up, that’s it, if you want to do that, that’s fine.”

“He’s an asshole, I think you should find him and kick his ass, personally,” he added about Aguilar-Delosantos, according to the indictment.

If all went according to plan, the couple would have met with Rodriguez outside the courthouse and waited for Vasiliades to walk by and give a thumbs up, giving him the the go-ahead to hand over the cash.

The indictment unsealed today brings 12 felony charges against Vasiliades, including four counts of witness intimidation, two counts of solicitation to intimidate a witness and obstruction of justice.

It names two officers from the Baltimore Police Department’s Investigation Intelligence section as witnesses.

Vasiliades’ website for his private law firm lists him as a member of five city and state legal associations, and says he has a J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He specializes in criminal, personal injury and real estate law, it says.

“Through his own personal motivation, stellar reputation Mr. Vasiliades acquainted himself with attorneys and judges throughout the Baltimore City, Baltimore County and other jurisdictions in Maryland,” his law firm biography says.

He also co-founded Olympus Title, which works with residential titles, and is a member of the Vasiliades family, which owns the Sip and Bite diner in Canton.

In 2015, Anthony “Tony” Vasiliades pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Feds caught him buying two kilograms of cocaine from a DEA informant.

Court records updated today don’t list an attorney for Christos Vasiliades.

The intimidation case puts Trump’s deportation-heavy agenda in the spotlight. The New York Times reported last week that ICE arrested more than 400 people per day during a three-month period this year, a 38 percent jump compared to the same timeframe from 2016.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...