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Businessman who testified in Mueller probe indicted on child pornography charges

Businessman who testified in Mueller probe indicted on child pornography charges

Postby smix » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:26 am

Businessman who testified in Mueller probe indicted on child pornography charges
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/blogs/under-th ... hy-1422642
Category: Crime
Published: July 19, 2019

Description: A wealthy Lebanese-American businessman and Middle East expert who was a witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation has been indicted on charges of importing child pornography and traveling with a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

george-nader.jpg

George Nader, 60, entered a not guilty plea through his attorney Friday morning in federal court in Alexandria, Va., during a brief arraignment on the new indictment, which was returned July 3 and unsealed Friday. Nader was involved in various meetings and discussions related to the Trump presidential transition that drew the attention of Mueller investigators, including a meeting that Erik Prince, the founder of private military contractor Blackwater, held with a Russian ally of President Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles in January 2017. Nader also took part in a meeting in Trump Tower the previous month that involved President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his then-chief strategist Steve Bannon and Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince in the United Arab Emirates. When Nader flew into Dulles Airport outside Washington in January 2018, he was questioned by agents working for Mueller. A search of three iPhones seized from him that day via a search warrant allegedly turned up child pornography. Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Nader over the images in April 2018 but kept the charges under seal and never told his attorneys about them even as he continued to cooperate with Mueller’s probe, lawyers said. Nader was arrested on the criminal complaint early last month at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as he flew in from overseas. Magistrate judges in New York and Alexandria denied his requests for release. Nader was wearing an Alexandria jail jumpsuit Friday for the five-minute hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema. She set a trial date of Sept. 30. A defense attorney for Nader, Jonathan Jeffress, urged Brinkema to reconsider the earlier orders to detain Nader pending trial. “This is not a typical child pornography case,” Jeffress told Brinkema, asking that the defendant be released to home detention under armed guard. However, the judge said she wasn’t inclined to let Nader out. “I think the decision to detain your client was appropriate,” Brinkema said, noting Nader’s extensive overseas connections, the type of conduct at issue and the potential for a lengthy prison sentence. Brinkema did say she would look at a written motion the defense submitted seeking Nader’s release, but she told prosecutor Jay Prabhu not to bother filing a response unless she asks for it. She did say she expects motions challenging the charge relating to transporting a minor, which dates to 2000. The defense’s bail submission stresses Nader’s cooperation with Mueller. “He testified multiple times under a grant of formal immunity before a grand jury empaneled in the District of Columbia,” Nader’s lawyers said. His attorneys said the videos that led to the charges are 12 recordings found in WhatsApp on one of Mr. Nader’s phones. Nader’s defense said he didn’t know they were there. “Neither the volume of the images or the content aligns with a typical federal child pornography (or obscenity) prosecution,” the defense team wrote. “The government is overreaching in this case.” The defense contended that Nader can’t pose much danger because he was allowed to leave and enter the country numerous times after the videos were discovered. Nader received a six-month sentence and a $2,000 fine from a federal judge in Northern Virginia in 1991 on a felony charge of transporting sexually explicit materials in foreign commerce, according to the records POLITICO obtained last year. U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton also imposed a $2,000 fine on Nader, the records show. Details of the Virginia case have not been previously reported, but it was known that Nader faced a similar charge in federal court in Washington in 1985 involving allegations of importing from the Netherlands magazines depicting nude boys. A judge later dismissed those charges. The Associated Press reported that Nader was convicted in the Czech Republic in 2002 of 10 cases of sexually abusing minors. He received a one-year prison sentence in that case, a court spokeswoman said, according to the news-wire service. The minor mentioned in the new indictment is also Czech, Prabhu said at the arraignment Friday.
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George Nader, Witness in Mueller Probe, Hit With New Charges of Sex Trafficking

Postby smix » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:32 am

George Nader, Witness in Mueller Probe, Hit With New Charges of Sex Trafficking
Daily Beast

URL: https://www.thedailybeast.com/george-na ... rafficking
Category: Crime
Published: July 19, 2019

Description: The key cooperator is accused of preying on a 14-year-old boy from Europe he allegedly flew to the U.S.
George Nader, who was a key witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, was hit with new federal charges of sex trafficking for allegedly “engaging in sexual acts” with a 14-year-old boy he transported from Europe. An indictment unsealed Friday morning in Eastern District of Virginia also charges Nader with counts of child pornography and obscenity. The charges come on top of separate child-porn charges leveled by the same prosecutors last month. Nader pleaded not guilty to all charges during a court appearance Friday. Nader, a 60-year-old Lebanese-American businessman with deep political and financial ties to the United Arab Emirates, was a key cooperator in Mueller’s probe of foreign influence in the 2016 election. Nader met several times with individuals associated with the Trump campaign throughout the election and into the early days of the administration. He spoke with officials and advisers on matters ranging from a pitch by a foreign firm for the campaign to use social-media manipulation to regime-change in Iran. (He met with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign advisors about the plan, which included a proposal to use fake avatars to garner support for Trump, but Trump officials deny they ever considered it.) He also helped broker a key meeting between Erik Prince, the former Blackwater CEO, and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds, in the Seychelles in January 2017. That meeting came under intense scrutiny by Mueller’s team and was described in its report as one of the ways the Russians tried to influence the incoming Trump administration. Federal prosecutors in Virginia argued last month in court that Nader should be held in jail before trial, based in part on his prior criminal history. That history includes a 2003 conviction in the Czech Republic on charges of abusing minors, including a charge of transporting of a minor boy to the U.S. for sexual purposes. Federal prosecutors said Nader has had “hands-on contact with more than a dozen minor boys.” Nader’s lawyers called the U.S. government’s argument weak because he was later acquitted of the Czech sex-trafficking charge. Nader is also charged with transporting child pornography—a charge he’s faced in the past. In 1984, Nader was indicted for possessing child pornography in D.C. The charge was later dismissed after his attorneys argued that the material was found through an illegal search conducted on Nader’s possessions at Dulles. In 1990, again at Dulles, law enforcement caught Nader with films featuring minor boys. Nader pleaded guilty the following year. Nader most recently faced allegations of possessing and transporting child pornography in 2018. Authorities stopped him at Dulles in January of that year and questioned him about his time working with the Trump team. Soon after, Nader began cooperating with Mueller, and in the spring of 2018 he departed for Dubai, where he lived until he attempted to re-enter the U.S. last month. When stopped at Dulles, the FBI executed a search warrant on Nader’s electronic devices, including three iPhones. After analyzing the phones, the FBI found 12 videos that appeared “to be visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” according to a criminal complaint filed in 2018 that remained under seal until last month. Nader is also charged with violating federal obscenity law. On June 3, he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York and transferred to a Virginia jail, where he remains locked up. Last month, prosecutors told a court that FBI agents found dozens of child-porn videos on one of Nader’s phones, with some depicting children as young as 3 years old. The FBI witness for the government said several of those videos were transmitted from Nader’s phone to other individuals. Prosecutors said authorities also found communications between Nader and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, also known as MBZ. Nader’s attorneys said he returned to the U.S. for an urgent doctor’s appointment after undergoing major heart surgery in the UAE weeks earlier.
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