Ah, the law in Florida. (NYT)
July 2, 2002 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Ah, the law in Florida. (NYT) The rich princess pushed her maid down a flight of stairs, but will be allowed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery without having to appear in court, pay a $1,000 fine and give a judge a letter of regret about injuries to her Indonesian maid in the incident. All this because the maid cannot be in court. After she went home to Jakarta in May for her mother's funeral, the United States Embassy there denied her a visa to return to Florida and testify on the grounds that she might try to stay in this country illegally. The maid is also the primary witness in a federal investigation of the princess for possibly employing Ms. Soryono under conditions of involuntary servitude, the Justice Department said. After the court hearing in Orlando, this federal investigation appears likely to end without charges.
posted by semmi (4 comments total)
I wonder if we'll ever see telletestifying.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 PM on July 2, 2002

"After her plea to the misdemeanor charge, Princess Buniah, 41, will again be eligible to apply for a tourist visa to travel to the United States. Because of her wealth and family ties, immigration experts said, she is unlikely to be denied a visa on the grounds that she might try to immigrate illegally."

posted by lia at 11:48 PM on July 2, 2002

I believe she was also being investigated for stealing and then selling electronics belonging to her driver.

what kind of a princess needs to hawk equipment?
posted by LuxFX at 8:20 AM on July 3, 2002

A princess with a nose problem.

I wouldn't read too much into this. It was a she-said, she-said incident from the get-go; as I recall they deposed some of the other servants under subpoena and got zip. A misdemeanor was a likely plea bargain in any event, and jail time was almost certainly never in the cards for someone with no criminal record.

The upshot is that this case has already probably led to Saudis being very careful who they bring to this country and how they treat them. For them it was probably a horrendous embarrassment (for the right reasons or not), and Buniah is probably on a very short leash from now on.

By the way, she's consistently described as "a niece of King Fahd", but that's only in the generous, Arab sense. From what I can tell, she's the daughter of Prince Fahd, who is the son of Prince Abdallah, the son of abd al-Rahman -- making him the brother of abd al-Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, and the father of all subsequent Kings including the present ruler/regent, the Crown Prince. So her father was a first cousin of the present King. She's nowhere near the ruling line, more in some kind of backwater. Her older brother Naif (not the Prince Naif who is Interior Minister!) is probably in a career-limiting phase due to not supervising his sister.
posted by dhartung at 2:44 PM on July 3, 2002

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