Trump Campaign Adviser Pleads Guilty to Child Porn, Sex Trafficking

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – An informal adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign who testified in the Mueller probe pleaded guilty Monday to charges of child sex trafficking and possessing child pornography.

George Nader, 60, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia’s Eastern District.

The stocky, bespectacled former Washington insider was succinct as Judge Brinkema read the offenses in detail and asked for his plea.

“Guilty,” Nader said in a gravelly voice, rapidly nodding his head in a huddle with defense attorneys John Jeffress of Kaiser Dillon and John Nassikas III of Arnold Porter.

Though it was expected the Lebanese-American businessman would go to trial in March, a criminal information filed on Friday signaled the decision to change course.

This 1998 frame from video provided by C-SPAN shows George Nader, president and editor of Middle East Insight.

He told the court on Monday that he felt no pressure to enter the pleas and that he had not struck any side deals with prosecutors or anyone else before deciding to confess.

Nader was first charged in June 2019 with transporting and possessing pornographic images of children including some featuring toddler-age boys, baby goats and other farm animals. A month later in July, prosecutors added a sex-trafficking charge, saying Nader had arranged the transport to his Washington home of a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic in February 2000.

Nader allegedly held onto the child’s passport after flying him through Dulles International Airport. Once at his residence, he assaulted him nightly and kept the child silent by threatening him and his mother with imprisonment should they ever attempt to report him, according to the indictment.

Defense attorneys sought to have the July charge dismissed under the statute of limitations, but Judge Brinkema relied on the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, which eliminated time limits on prosecution of certain offenses involving minors and intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with minors.  

This is not Nader’s first run-in with the law. He served six months after a 1991 guilty plea in Virginia to transporting child pornography.

Then in 2003, Nader was convicted in the Prague Municipal Court in the Czech Republic for sexually abusing boys. Facing 10 charges there, he served a year in jail in Prague before being expelled from the country.

The light sentences are believed to be, in part, the result of Nader’s 30-plus-year connection to prominent movers and shakers in Washington.

Court documents note that the now-deceased real estate developer Guilford Glazer, a friend of former President Ronald Regan extolled Nader’s character in a letter to a federal judge, naming Nader a critical conduit in the brokerage of conflict relief efforts between Israel and Hezbollah.

Nader was the longtime editor of Middle East Insight magazine throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In April 1996, some five years after he pleaded guilty to a transporting child pornography, Nader received a tribute from Representative Nick Rahall II, a West Virginia Democrat, when the magazine celebrated its 15th year in publication.

“Because of his reputation for fairness and his remarkable access to key political business leaders throughout the region, Nader has produced a magazine of distinction and high quality,” Rahall II said. “Both he and Middle East Insight deserve special recognition on their 15th anniversary.”

The Trump campaign knew of Nader’s negotiating prowess within Middle East diplomatic and political circles and knew he was especially plugged into the United Arab Emirates channel thanks to his direct tie to the UAE’s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

According to testimony Nader gave to a grand jury during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Nader arranged his first meeting with members of the Trump transition team in December 2016 at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

At the meeting, Nader met with Trump’s son in-in-law, Jared Kushner, then Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and the Emirati crown prince. The point of the meeting, according to an extensive report first published by the Associated Press, was to convince the Trump administration to sour on Qatar, a nation that has long been an ally to the U.S. but an enemy to the Emiratis.

The hardened stance toward Qatar was a running theme championed by Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy.

Broidy, also the former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, received a wire from Nader in April 2017 for a whopping $2.5 million from Nader’s company in the UAE. The funds were first routed to a Canadian investment firm known as Xiemen Investments Limited and then transferred to an account owned by Broidy in California.  

Another of Nader’s meetings that caught the special counsel’s eye was Nader’s January 2017 gathering in the paradisiacal Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

There, Nader was joined again by bin Zayed. But this time in attendance was Erik Prince, founder of the security company Blackwater, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Though Prince told Mueller the meeting in the Seychelles was happenstance, Nader testified the meeting was planned and that the subject discussed was how to create diplomatic back channels between the Trump team and Moscow.

According to the Mueller Report, Nader and Dmitriev spoke at length about how Dmitriev was underwhelmed by Prince at the Seychelles meeting and wanted to meet with someone better connected.

First pulled into Mueller’s orbit nearly a year later in January 2018, Nader was stopped by FBI agents at Dulles International Airport. They wanted to know more about meetings Nader arranged between members of Trump’s transition team and officials from the Kremlin. The search warrant for his phone ultimately uncovered child pornography.

Nader faces sentencing April 10 on the new conviction. The first count of possessing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and 20 years maximum plus a $250,000 fine. He would also face a minimum of five years supervised release that could be extended for the duration of his life.

On the second count, transporting a minor for sex, Nader faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years. A $250,000 fine would also apply for this charge. He is also required to register as a sex offender for life.

Nader’s defense attorneys seek a 10-year sentence to run concurrently.

As a part of his guilty pleas today, Nader will pay restitution directly to the boy he transported from the Czech Republic to the U.S. in 2000. Prosecutor Jay Prabhu informed the court Monday that the victim, who is now an adult, has requested it and that attorneys are now working out the details. 

Nader faces another prosecution in Washington unrelated to the child-sex charges. Prosecutors indicted Nader and seven others in December for conspiracy to conceal campaign contributions, saying they funneled $3.5 million to various political committees and presidential candidates.

Campaign-finance records made clear Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign was one recipient, though her name does not appear in the indictment.

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