SANTA ANA, Calif. — A human-trafficking charge against a Saudi princess was abruptly dismissed Friday after prosecutors were unable to support claims by a Kenyan maid who said she had to escape from her employer’s condo after having her passport taken and being forced to work long hours for meager pay.
The announcement came during what had been expected to be the arraignment of Meshael Alayban, 42, on the felony charge punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told the judge that investigators tried to corroborate the allegations but found the evidence did not support the claim.
An attorney had said the maid wanted to make a statement to the court but wasn’t available until Monday. The judge told Rackauckas he could wait, but the district attorney moved to dismiss the case.
Alayban smiled when her attorney, Paul Meyer, said, ‘‘You are free.’’
Another attorney in the case, Jennifer Keller, thanked the district attorney for ‘‘being a man of integrity’’ on behalf of Alayban’s family and of the nation of Saudi Arabia.