See Update No. 2 on page 2 where the lawyer for the Saudi princess claims the maid alleging she was kept as a slave flew first class to Orange County, was able to have a cell phone and shopped at malls on the family's dime. Update No. 1 on the next page reveals Meshael Alayban's arraignment hearing was postponed this morning.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 29, 8:57 A.M.: Meshael Alayban, the Saudi Arabian princess accused of keeping a Kenyan maid as a slave in an upscale Irvine apartment, is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Ana this morning on one felony count of human trafficking.
The 42-year-old, who is out on $5 million bail paid by the Saudi consulate, faces up to 12 years in state prison with a conviction, prosecutors have said.
The case against the wife of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a grandson of King Abdullah, is the first forced labor human trafficking case to be prosecuted in Orange County under California's Proposition 35, the anti-human slavery initiative voters passed last November.
The charges were filed earlier this month after the 30-year-old domestic worker from Kenya flagged down a passing bus in Irvine and was assisted by a female passenger before ratting out the Saudi Arabian national for allegedly keeping the distressed newcomer as a domestic slave.
Alayban's lawyer claims this all the result of a employment dispute between the royal and one of her workers.
UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 29, 9:52 A.M.: This morning's arraignment hearing in Santa Ana was postponed to Sept. 20.
Meshael Alayban's defense attorneys Paul Meyer and Jennifer L. Kelley say their client is in compliance with all court orders.
One of six wives to a grandson of the king of Saudi Arabia, Alayban came to the U.S. with her three children on a vacation visa and has been in Irvine since at least May, according to officials.
The children came to Southern California with their nannies, on $10,000 1st Class tickets, all paid for by the family, according to Meyer and Kelley.
UPDATE NO. 2, JULY 29, 12:06 P.M.: The housekeeper who claims she was kept against her will in an Irvine apartment complex traveled to Orange County in first class, had her own cell phone and was even allowed to shop at neighborhood malls on the employer's dime, a lawyer for the Saudi princess accused of human trafficking reportedly claims.
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The alleged victim from Kenya and four other "nannies" for Alayban from the Philippines "traveled to the U.S. on $10,000 first class tickets, along with the family. These women had cell phones, Internet, Facebook, and the family even bought cable in their native language for them. They enjoyed full use of the spa, gym and pool and were often dropped off to shop alone at neighborhood malls, all paid for by the family," reads a statement from defense attorney Paul S. Meyer (via City News Service's Paul Anderson).
Prosecutors allege the Kenyan worked 16 hours every day with no days off and was paid $220 a month, even though the work contract that brought her to Saudi Arabia from her home country promised $1,600 a month, fewer daily hours and more time off.
Also included in the contract was a stipulation that the worker could return to Kenya after three months if she wished, according to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who claims instead the document was "torn up" the first time she reported for work.