Hearing Delayed for Saudi Princess in Slavery Case

A Saudi princess is accused of enslaving domestic servants in her Southern California condominium

An arraignment was delayed Monday for Saudi princess Meshael Alayban, who is charged with human trafficking for allegedly enslaving a domestic servant from Kenya in her Irvine, Calif., condo.

Alayban, 42, did not appear in court and Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston judge was concerned.

"I have a question to ask here," Johnston said. "In all cases in which a felony is charged, the accused shall be present at the arraignment ... Why is she not here?"

Attorneys Paul S. Meyer and Jennifer L. Keller said that Alayban did not appear in court as authorized and she has complied with all court orders.

"The nannies traveled to the U.S. on $10,000 first-class tickets, along with the family," they said in  a statement. "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."

Her arraignment was postponed to Sept. 20.

The case broke July 9, when the maid from Kenya managed to escape the condo and flagged down a bus driver who alerted authorities. Police arrested Alayban in connection with the case and opened an investigation into the discovery of four more women from the Philippines found unharmed in the condo.

Alayban was charged with human trafficking, the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in Orange County under Proposition 35, California's anti-human trafficking law.

If convicted, she faces up to 12 years in prison.

Alayban, who made her first court appearance July 11, was allowed to post the $5 million bail and was being monitored by a GPS tracking device. She was also ordered to stay in the county and she had to surrender her passport.

The Kenyan maid told police she agreed to work for Alayban for two years, prosecutors said. She was paid $220 a month for 16-hour days, seven days a week, with no time off. Among her duties -- cooking, cleaning and caring for at least eight people in the condo complex.

Alayban is one of six wives to a grandson of the king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. She came to the U.S. with her three children on a vacation visa and has been in Irvine since at least May, officials said.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this story.

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