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United States v. Khobragade

United States v. Khobragade

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Published by OutlookMagazine
U.S. v. Khobragade, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00008.
U.S. v. Khobragade, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00008.

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Published by: OutlookMagazine on Mar 12, 2014
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03/15/2014

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW
YORK
---------------------------------------------------------
)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -
against
DEVYANI KHOBRAGADE, Defendant. OPINION AND ORDER 14 Cr. 008 SAS)
--------------------------------------------------------
)
SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN, U.S.D.J.: I. INTRODUCTION
On December 12,2013, Dr. Devyani Khobragade was arrested and charged with visa fraud and making false statements to the government in violation
of
Title
18
United States Code, Sections 1546 and 1001. On January
9 2014
Khobragade was indicted on the above charges, and moved to dismiss the Indictment on the basis
of
diplomatic immunity. Upon the Government s request, the Court reserved decision pending full briefing. For the reasons that follow, Khobragade s motion is granted and the Indictment is dismissed.
II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Khobragade, a citizen
of
India, served as a consular officer in the
Case 1:14-cr-00008-SAS Document 23 Filed 03/12/14 Page 1 of 14
 
United States from October
26 2012
through January 8, 2014,1 a position that cloaked her with consular immunity pursuant to the Vienna Convention
on
Consular Relations (''VCCR,,).2 Khobragade contends that she additionally obtained diplomatic immunity
on
August
26 2013
by virtue
of
her appointment
as
a Special Advisor to the United Nations, and that such immunity continued through at least December 31, 2013.
3
The Government denies that Khobragade ever had diplomatic immunity as a Special Advisor, and alternately argues that any period
of
diplomatic immunity ended well before December 2013.
4
On December 12,2013, Khobragade was arrested on a complaint and presented before a magistrate judge, who released her under several bail conditions Specifically, Khobragade served
as
the Deputy Consul General for Political, Economic, Commercial and Women's Affairs at the Consulate General
of
India in New York City.
See
1129/14 Declaration
of
Stephen Kerr ("Kerr Decl."), Attorney-Adviser in the Office
of
the Legal Advisor
of
the United States Department
of
State, Ex. A to Memorandum
of
Law
of
the United States
of
America in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Indictment ("Gov. Mem."),
3
See
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (''VCCR''),
entered into force
Dec. 24, 1969,21 U.S.T. 77.
3
See
Defendant's Memorandum
of
Law in Support
of
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to 22 U.S.c.
§
254d on the Grounds
of
Diplomatic Immunity ("Def. Mem.") at
6
4
See
Gov. Mem. at 14-17.
2
Case 1:14-cr-00008-SAS Document 23 Filed 03/12/14 Page 2 of 14
 
including a
bond
in the amount
of
$250,000 co-signed
by
three other people.
s
On
January 8, 2014, Khobragade was appointed a Counselor to the Permanent Mission
of
India to the United Nations, a position that cloaked her
with
full diplormtic immunity.6 On January 9, 2014, a grand
jury
returned the Indictment charging Khobragade
with
visa fraud and making false statements to the government
in
violation
of
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1546, 1001, and 2. Later that day, the State Department asked the Indian government to waive
Khobragade's
diplomatic immunity
in
order that the charges
may
be
adjudicated
in
accordance with the laws
of
the United States."7 After the Indian government declined to waive Khobragade's immunity, the State Department requested her immediate departure from the country.
8
Also
on
January 9, 2014, Khobragade's counsel appeared before the
S
ee
id
at 3; Def. Mem. at
6
ee
1/8114 Letter from Eileen P. Merritt, Minister Counselor at the United States Mission to the United Nations, to Devyani Khobragade ("Merritt Letter"), Ex. F to Gov. Mem.; Kerr DecL 4; Gov. Mem. at
17
nA.
1/8114 Diplormtic Note from United States Mission to the United Nations to Permanent Mission
of
India, Ex. H to Gov. Mem.
8
1/9114 Diplomatic Note from United States Mission to the United Nations to Permanent Mission
of
India, Ex. G to Gov. Mem. ("The United States Mission has received the Permanent Mission
[of
India's]
note
of
January 9
th
declining to waive the immunity
of
Dr
Khobragade, and accordingly this Mission requests her immediate departure from the United States.").
3
Case 1:14-cr-00008-SAS Document 23 Filed 03/12/14 Page 3 of 14

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