Today's scheduled arraignment for Meshael Alayban, 42, who's charged with felony human trafficking, was postponed until Sept. 20.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston questioned why the defendant wasn't present in court for today's hearing, but her attorneys said they had previously arranged to reschedule her plea. Alayban was released on $5 million bail earlier this month, but she is wearing a GPS device to track her movements and she is not allowed to leave
After today's hearing, Alayban's attorneys Paul S. Meyer and Jennifer Keller, issued the following statement:
The alleged victim and four other ``nannies'' for Alayban ``traveled to the
Investigators will consider any evidence produced by defense attorneys, said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
``We'll certainly consider all of the evidence ... as we do with all other cases,'' Schroeder told City News Service.
Schroeder added, ``As far as traveling first class, who's going to take care of the kids in the air unless they're all in first class.''
Rackauckas' chief of staff said the defendant has a ``tremendous amount of resources,'' and that in high-profile cases such as this, ``It's not unusual for a defendant to start going after the victims and calling them names and to paint things in a very different light.''
Previously, Rackauckas made appearances for the prosecution, but Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray, an experienced homicide prosecutor, is taking over the prosecution.
Alayban is one of the six wives of Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a grandson of Saudi King Abdullah, according to authorities.
The charge against Alayban marks the first case of forced labor human trafficking to be prosecuted in
The new law increased Alayban's potential punishment if she is convicted from about six years to 12 years behind bars, according to Rackauckas.
Rackauckas has characterized the case as ``an example of forced labor'' locally.
Alayban was charged with one felony count of human trafficking.
Investigators were considering whether to file more charges because authorities encountered four women from the
The alleged victim, a 30-year-old woman from
The woman sought employment because her 7-year-old daughter is ill and she wanted to have enough money for medical care, Rackauckas said. She was hired to cook, clean and do other household chores in her employer's palace, according to prosecutors.
When the woman arrived for her work assignment, her passport was taken and she was put to work for excessive hours for a fraction of the agreed-upon salary, Engen said. When the woman complained about the working conditions and asked for her passport back, it was refused, Engen said.
Prosecutors said she worked 16 hours every day with no days off. Her salary was allegedly $220 a month, not the $1,600 she had been promised, and was not allowed to return to Kenya. Her contract stated she would be able to return to Kenya after three months if she wished, but the document was ``torn up,'' when she reported for work, Rackauckas alleged.