Key Mueller probe witness George Nader arrested on child porn charge

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George Nader, a Middle East power broker who cooperated with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, was arrested Monday on a federal charge of transporting child pornography.

Nader, who after the election of President Donald Trump was asked by a leading Russian money manager to introduce him to officials in Trump’s transition team, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, according to federal prosecutors in Virginia, who are handling the case.

A 60-year-old citizen of Lebanon and the United States, Nader appeared later Monday in federal court in Brooklyn at a bail hearing, where prosecutor Miriam Glazer urged Judge Cheryl Pollak to detain him on the grounds that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Pollak ordered Nader detained overnight as she asked for additional medical information about Nader and a person who would secure his release bond if granted. The bail hearing is due to resume Tuesday afternoon

The complaint against him was unsealed in Virginia federal court on Monday after his arrest. But that complaint was actually filed in April 2018, three months after he was interviewed by FBI agents in January 2018 at Washington Dulles International Airport about a matter “unrelated to child pornography,” according to the complaint.

It was during that encounter that Nader was first asked to cooperate with the special counsel.

Three of Nader’s iPhones were seized at the time. And at least one of them was later found to contain videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the complaint unsealed Monday.

It is not the first time Nader has faced legal jeopardy in the United States for child porn.

He was convicted of the same charge in Virginia in 1991 and sentenced to six months in prison.

He faced another similar charge in 1985 that was dismissed on the basis of an invalid search warrant.

An attorney for Nader did not respond to a request for comment.

Nader helped arrange a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, who reported directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Mueller’s report on his investigation.

Prince, founder of the private security company Academi – formerly Blackwater – is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

That meeting was set up after Dmitriev asked Nader “to request a meeting with the ‘key people’ in the incoming [Trump] administration as soon as possible in light of the [g]reat results” of Trump’s election victory, according to Mueller’s report.

Nader has played a role in the diplomatic efforts of some U.S. presidents.

He worked on President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to release hostages held in Lebanon, and later was involved in President Bill Clinton’s attempt at reaching a peace deal between Israel and Syria, according to CNN.

Nader faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years if convicted, the Justice Department said.