Trump Tower Meeting Figure Stays Jailed on Child Porn Charges

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Finding he poses too great a threat to public safety, a federal judge ruled Friday that a witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation with links to associates of President Donald Trump must stay in jail on charges of transporting child pornography.

This 1998 frame from video provided by C-SPAN shows George Nader, then president and editor of Middle East Insight. (C-SPAN via AP, File)

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis cited a litany of concerns he had about the potential for George Nader, 60, to flee during a detention hearing Friday at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

The wealthy former lobbyist and informal adviser to the United Arab Emirates has a villa in Abu Dhabi and a chalet in Lebanon. His net worth is around $3 million and he has at least $1 million in cyber currency alone, prosecutors revealed during the hearing.

The reach of Nader’s inner circle is also significant, prosecutors said.

Upon analyzing the phones Nader had seized after his arrest Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, investigator found text messages between Nader and the Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, as well as Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.

Nader’s defense attorney, Christopher Clark of Latham & Watkins, unsuccessfully argued that his client’s precarious health condition – he recently had triple bypass heart surgery in Germany – should preclude him from being detained ahead of a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Judge Ivan reviewed a note from an anesthesiologist – not a cardiac surgeon or related physician – who suggested Nader be released for treatment, but was unconvinced of its credibility.

Prosecutors objected to the characterization by defense attorneys that Nader was desperately ill.

“When the government brought Mr. Nader to a doctor for evaluation on Monday, the doctor said, ‘don’t bring healthy people in here,’” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Prabhu said Friday.

According to an indictment unsealed Monday, Nader had a litany of sexually explicit images of children on a mobile phone he carried when entering the U.S. last January.

However, the indictment stayed under wraps as Nader agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. Investigators in Mueller’s office sought more information about attempts from foreign officials, like Nader’s contacts in the UAE, to influence U.S politics by reaching out to then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.

At Friday’s hearing, Nader’s criminal history did not help him with the judge.

He pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography in the Eastern District of Virginia in 1991 and was convicted by the Prague Municipal Court in the Czech Republic for sexually abusing boys in 2003. He only served a year in prison for those charges.

Going even further back, a search warrant was issued in 1984 after a postal inspector spotted a package from Amsterdam addressed to the lobbyist that seemed suspicious. Nader later admitted in court that it contained child pornography, but the case was thrown out over a technicality about rules on importing obscene materials. Two lesser charges were dropped and he was never convicted.

“It seems like nearly 40 years ago he had a propensity and now he still has it. That’s a problem,” Judge Davis said Friday. “It seems to me your client has difficulty following court orders about not violating crimes.”

Nader’s attorney, Clark, tried to negotiate a middle ground for release, at one point extending an unusual offer: Nader would pay for a private security team to guard him at a medical facility and Latham & Watkins would vouch for that contract.

“But if he stops paying them, he could leave,” Davis said before abruptly dismissing the request.

Back in August 2016, Nader met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower to offer to help with Trump’s presidential campaign, and then a few months later attended a meeting with UAE officials and Trump associates Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn.

Nader was reportedly interested in setting up meetings between the UAE crown prince and members of the Trump team. Not long after the initial meeting, Nader also arranged a face-to-face with Trump associate Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, a close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By April 2017, Nader was acting as an informal adviser to the UAE and reportedly wired some $2.5 million to Trump campaign fundraiser Elliot Broidy.

Unrelated to his child-pornography charges, Nader testified in the special counsel’s investigation in exchange for partial immunity.

Mueller’s team interviewed Nader at length during the probe, and his name appears over 100 times in the final 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In an affidavit accompanying Nader’s criminal complaint, FBI Special Agent Ted Delacourt described the disturbing contents of 12 separate videos he said investigators found on iPhones in Nader’s possession, which were seized on a warrant. One video depicted a boy, age 13 or 14, apparently penetrating a goat with its legs tied together, while others depicted boys age 3 or 4 having their genitals sucked on by baby goats or pecked by chickens, Delacourt said.

Nader faces 15 to 40 years in prison if convicted on the charges of transporting child pornography.

The White House did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

During the detention hearing, as he described Nader’s criminal history and argued for his detainment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Prabhu recounted the circumstances of Nader’s conviction in the Czech Republic.

Prabhu said that in 2000, Nader transported a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic and threatened both the boy and his mother with physical harm if they reported the crime. The information shared by the prosecutor Friday was corroborated by Nader to authorities last year.

Another statement given to authorities in 1997 and later corroborated by Nader indicated he invited a child to his residence in Washington, D.C., to watch pornography, Prabhu said.

As Judge Davis prepared to render his decision from the bench Friday, he did extend one opportunity to the defendant who he must give “the benefit of the doubt” to under the color of law.

“If there are any concerns over his health, after he is detained, then you can bring it to this court’s attention later,” the judge said.

%d bloggers like this: