An ex-adviser to Donald Trump's presidential transition team and key witness in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes involving minors.
George Nader, a 60-year-old Middle East specialist with close ties to the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, admit to possessing child pornography and bringing an underage boy to the US for “commercial sex” during a court hearing on Monday.
Explicit videos depicting the sexual abuse of toddlers were discovered on his phone in January 2018, when FBI agents examined the devices as part of their probe into Russian election meddling.
Nader, who has been described by prosecutors as a “lifelong paedophile”, served Mr Trump during his transition to the presidency as an informal foreign policy adviser.
His testimony in the Russia investigation has been attributed with undermining previous claims about a meeting between a supporter of Mr Trump and a Russian banker linked to Vladimir Putin, that at first was said to have been a chance encounter and later found to likely have been a coordinated rendezvous. His name appears over 100 times throughout the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Nader’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April. He has been held in jail since a judge determined he was too dangerous to be released on bail in June of last year, CNN reported.
The US Justice Department has recommended Nader receive 10 years in prison — the mandatory minimum sentence available in cases involving child pornography charges.
Nader pleaded guilty to bringing a 14-year-old child into the country in 2000 from the Czech Republic. Additional charges against him over transporting child pornography were dismissed in court on Monday.
He also previously pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in 1991, and convicted of sexually abusing minors in 10 different cases in the Czech Republic, where he served a one-year prison sentence in 2003.
Nader has argued that his plea deal preserves his right to appeal the latest conviction against him, though he would still be subject to the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years under US federal law.
He has also been charged with seven other conspirators allegedly involved in illegally wiring over $3.5m (£2.7m) in political donations to Mr Trump’s former 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.