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New York lawyer accuses U.S. of bungling investigation of diplomat

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 6:21 p.m.
Quinton Reynolds, of Emeryville, wears a purple cape as he holds his daughter Qniyah Reynolds, 4, as he gathers with others outside of Children's Hospital Oakland in support of Jahi McMath in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. McMath was declared brain dead after experiencing complications following a tonsillectomy at the hospital. (AP Photo/The Contra Costa Times-Bay Area News Group, Susan Tripp Pollard)

NEW YORK — A lawyer for an Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip search in New York City drew angry responses from officials in India accused U.S. authorities on Tuesday of bungling the investigation.

Attorney Daniel Arshack said the agent who drew up charges against his client made a key error in reading a form submitted on behalf of a domestic worker for Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York. She was arrested two weeks ago and charged with submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her New York City housekeeper.

Arshack said in an email that the error was in “erroneously and disastrously” mistaking Khobragade's listed base salary of $4,500 per month for what she intended to pay her housekeeper.

The lawyer said Khobragade's salary needed to be listed on the form so that U.S. embassy officials in India would know that Khobragade had sufficient income to be able to pay her housekeeper $1,560 per month, or $9.75 per hour for a 40-hour workweek. In court documents, authorities claim she paid her housekeeper about $3.31 per hour.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Arshack's claims.

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