Varsha Sabhnani, an Indonesian of Indian origin, and Mahendra Sabhnani, her India-born husband, were today found guilty on all charges pertaining to the illegal detention and abuse of their Indonesian domestic help. Newsday reports:
Mahender Sabhnani looked stunned as the verdict was read. Daughter Pooja started crying. Another daughter, Dakshina, collapsed backwards in her seat. Then Varsha Sabhnani, who had been crying with her head on her husband’s chest, got up and leaned over to help her daughter. At that point, Dakshina screamed, “Papa! Papa! Papa!” The judge immediately cleared the courtroom.
Jeffrey Hoffman, one of the couple’s lawyers, said, “We’re very disappointed in the verdict. The jury was taken with the histrionics” of the enslaved domestics, who provided detailed testimony about years of abuse and torture at the hands of the Sabhnanis.
No word yet on sentencing or whether the couple’s multi-million dollar home on Long Island will be forfeited by the federal government.