George Nader, Witness in Mueller Probe, Denied Release on Child-Porn Charges

By Pilar.Melendez@thedailybeast.com (Pilar Melendez) Erin.Banco@thedailybeast.com (Erin Banco)
REUTERS

George Nader, an emissary to the United Arab Emirates who cooperated extensively with Special Counsel Robert Mueller probe, was denied release on Tuesday after being arrested for possessing child pornography.

Nader, 60, a Lebanese-American businessman, will be handed over to federal agents for extradition to Virginia for his prosecution. He was arrested Monday at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport for allegedly possessing child pornography on a cellphone more than a year ago. He was originally charged in Jan. 2018 after he arrived at Washington-Dulles International Airport from Dubai, according to the complaint unsealed Monday, where he allegedly transported “child pornography and child erotica,” including videos showing children. Nader previously pleaded guilty to the same charge in 1991.

Assistant United States Attorney Miriam Glaser proposed to have two FBI agents drive Nader from New York to Virginia. Nader, who will be picked up at 9 a.m. Wednesday, is expected to spend the night in Alexandria before his next hearing.

“The investigating agent is willing to take Nader in his car along with another agent with medical expertise and transport him to a courthouse in Virginia,” Glaser said.

The agreed proposal followed an order by Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak for overnight detainment. Nader, appearing disheveled and dressed in a khaki jumpsuit, arrived in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday alongside his defense lawyer, Chris Clark, who revealed the Dubai resident returned to New York on Monday for a cardiologist appointment at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Clark also claimed Nader had open-heart surgery five weeks ago in Germany and has been suffering from complications. At the behest of his doctors in Germany, Nader was scheduled to meet with “renowned cardiologist” Dr. Rony Shimony on Monday to discuss whether he needed another surgery or “treatment at a rehabilitation center.”

George Nader, Witness in Mueller Investigation, Arrested on Child Porn Charges

“Mr. Nader is supposed to be at Mount Sinai Hospital right now,” Clark said. “The surgery in Germany took a couple arteries out and put a couple arteries in. This Mount Sinai visit wasn’t just a check up.”

Clark asked Judge Pollack on Tuesday that Nader be allowed free on bond to go to a Virginia medical facility where could seek treatment while under 24-hour armed guard. Prosecutors opposed the request for bail, however, pointing to Nader’s access to millions in cryptocurrency, and foreign government connections.

Judge Pollack ultimately sided with the U.S. attorneys, arguing what while Nader’s medical records do show heart issues, he is healthy enough to travel across the world. After a brief deliberation, Pollack agreed to release Nader “to the custody of the FBI.”

“He clearly was OK to travel from Dubai to New York to see Dr. Shimony,” Pollack said. “I just don’t know it raises to the level of some imminent concern.”

Pollack also ruled Tuesday Nader’s request to seek medical attention at a facility will be ruled in Virginia.

Nader was a witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He testified several times in front of the grand jury and was named throughout Mueller’s report. He entered into a cooperation agreement with the Department of Justice, but the terms of that agreement were reportedly limited. Nader has been living in the United Arab Emirates since the spring of 2018.

He has long been active in American politics, forging close relationships with both Democrats and Republicans over the years. Before becoming a part of Trumpworld he had forged connections with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. During that time, he represented himself to those he communicated with as someone with close connections to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed in the UAE and members of the Saudi royal court, including Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Beginning in the summer of 2016, Nader attended meetings and communicated with Trump’s inner circle on topics ranging from U.S.-Gulf relations and plans to help Trump win the election.

In Aug. 2016, he attended a meeting in New York with Donald Trump Jr., Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and Israeli intelligence expert Joel Zamel to discuss a social-media manipulation plan that could help Trump clinch the election in November. It’s unclear if that plan ever went forward but aides in the West Wing have said the proposal was never seriously considered. Following that meeting, though, Nader reportedly paid Zamel $2 million.

Later, after the election, Nader helped set up a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds. That meeting was described extensively in the Mueller report. The Daily Beast first reported last year that Dmitriev and Prince talked about a proposed road map for U.S.-Russia relations in the Trump era.

An eyewitness saw individuals cleaning out Nader’s apartment in Washington last summer, carrying away his valuables in trash bags, including a Kohler toilet. The individual said the men were not with an official moving company. According to publicly available tax documents, it appears Nader still owns his apartment, but individuals in his building say it is being rented out.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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